Stellar defense key in Eagles’ strong first half

The defensive strength of the women’s soccer team takes responsibility for their undefeated start.



Keaton Moore, Writer

With promotion to the National Collegiate Athletic Association on the horizon for Biola University, the success of the women’s soccer team is a strong validation that they are ready. Thanks in large part to the Eagles’ nearly invincible defense, the women’s soccer team is on track for their best season since 2006.

willingness to adjust

Opening their season with a six-goal victory over the Marymount College Mariners, the Eagles are undefeated through their first 12 games. They brag seven three-plus goal victories and are second in Golden State Athletic Conference with 42 goals. They are four points over Vanguard University for first place with a 5-0-1 conference record and helped them to a 11-0-1 overall record.

“We have managed to maintain our momentum because we spend a lot of our practice time preparing specifically for our next opponent,” said Jessie Burns, senior midfielder. “We have been able to continue our momentum because of our willingness to adjust our game slightly in order to be successful against different teams.”

A tie with the Menlo College Oaks on Sept. 24 proved the only blemish on their record thus far. Along with No. 4 Westmont College and No. 11 Vanguard, the No. 12 Eagles are one of three teams in the GSAC ranked in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes. Not only that, but Biola is one of the five undefeated teams left in the NAIA.

Through the first half of the season, the Eagles gave up only five goals in 12 games and lead GSAC with the least amount of allowed goals. Including their most recent 4-0 victory over San Diego Christian College, the Eagles are in the midst of a four-game shutout streak. Within their streak, the Eagles bested Westmont in a pivotal, overtime victory on Oct. 5. Not only was their victory over Westmont the second time they beat the Warriors on the road since 2005, it was their first win against a top-five ranked team since 2011.

Freshman standout

The newest addition to the Eagles’ backline is already achieving conference recognition. Facing 120 shots, freshman goalkeeper Christina Rodriguez owns a 0.43 goal average and appeared in every game of the season. She is third in conference with 43 saves, tied for second with five shutouts and leads GSAC with a .896 save percentage. Her impressive numbers earned her the GSAC women’s soccer defender of the week award on Oct. 10.

Not to mention, many of the Eagles’ defense are improving their offensive number from last season. Sophomore defender and midfielder Madyson Brown, senior defender Kayla White and Mikalson all have scored two goals thus far this season. In 2015, only Brown and White scored a goal out of the three, the former with two and the latter with one.

“Overall, we have better chemistry with a year of experience together, which explains our shutouts against tough opponents,” Mikalson said.

As the pressure builds to continue their strong start, the Eagles maintain the attitude of taking the season one game at a time. With the end goals of winning the conference and taking home the GSAC championship, the women’s soccer team looks ahead towards the next game against Hope International University on Oct. 19 at 12 p.m.

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