MEN’s SOCCER: Sattler gains school record in shutout weekend

Joanie Baker

If you ever watch little kids eat dessert, you’ll notice how their chocolate-covered faces relentlessly pick out the best part for last.

Whether it’s the chunks of fudge or the cherry on top of the sundae, they make a conscious effort to set it aside on the paper napkin until they have finished the rest.

Western’s soccer team regressed into its childhood this weekend.

After a nail biting season filled with ups and downs every Friday and Sunday, fans got to see that the players knew what they were doing all along -saving the best for last. Western shutout both Southwest Missouri State and Evansville last weekend, ending its Sunday losing jinx, and attaining a school record along the way.

“I hope that’s the case,” coach David Holmes said. “We’re one win away from the semifinals in St. Louis. We’ll have to play better than we did on Sunday though. They have three dangerous forwards. Sunday’s game was a lot tougher than the score indicated.”

But the score indicated senior goalkeeper Daryl Sattler’s fifth shutout of the season. Not to mention his 17.5 career shutout, which gave him the school record for career shutouts.

“I’m really happy,” Sattler said. “It was one of my goals when I came here. I knew where I was standing coming into this season, but of course getting an injury put a damper on that.”

Sattler said there was a big difference in the team’s play that affected the outcome of the game.

“It looked like we were having fun, not struggling,” Sattler said. “We played soccer, and after the whistle and when we saw our results, we definitely had a lot of smiles. In the beginning of the season, I think a lot of people were getting frustrated because we had good individuals, but now we’re communicating and playing as a team.”

Playing as a team, Western’s defense allowed SMS only three shots on goal, keeping the Bears from tying with sophomore Richard Mupfudze’s single unassisted goal. To its credit, that same defense, which usually shows its wear on Sundays, came out just as strong against Evansville.

“I think we’ve matured as a team in that we’re getting contributions from 19 players,” Holmes said. “After 60 minutes, Daniel died and Scott faded. That’s not because they weren’t playing well, but because they put everything they had into Friday’s physical game.

“I’m impressed with the guys’ play who didn’t start, like freshman Will Fancher. He played an outstanding game. We couldn’t do it without them.”

With freshmen Daniel Payne and Steven Medlock finding the back of the net in Sunday’s game against Evansville, the team moved to No. 3 in the Missouri Valley Conference and will be facing Evansville again this Friday in the opening round of the conference tournament.

Sattler forecasts a much more physical game.

“After us beating them at home, they’re going to want to kill us,” Sattler said. “I expect it will be a one-goal game this time. It will be a different tempo game, but with it being the only game we have this week, we don’t have to worry about conserving energy so we can put everything into it.”

Kind of like a youngster going after dessert.

Reach Joanie Baker at [email protected]