Eagles overcome injuries to salvage 1-1 tie at Newman

Sergio Flores (left) scored his first career goal for OC in a 1-1 tie with Newman.
Sergio Flores (left) scored his first career goal for OC in a 1-1 tie with Newman.

WICHITA, Kan. (Sept. 20, 2013) – Freshman Sergio Flores scored his first career goal in the 75th minute, allowing Oklahoma Christian to escape with a 1-1 tie against Newman (Kan.) on Friday night at Wilkins Field in a nonconference game between the two Heartland Conference foes.

OC (2-1-1) overcame the absence of at least five key players who are dealing with injuries, leaving the Eagles with a limited rotation, particularly in the defensive portion of the field.

“It’s always a tight game when we play these guys,” OC coach David Scott said. “Both teams had several quality chances and it really could have gone either way.

“I’m really proud of how the guys kept fighting and found a way to get a result. We had a lot of young guys step up tonight and play big roles for us. We are a little banged up right now, but guys stepped in and performed really well to earn the result.”

Newman (0-3-1) seized the lead in the 41st minute, as Jordan Saybounkham took the ball on the left side and passed to Adam Sawyer, who beat OC goalkeeper Connor Davenport.

“The goal we gave up was a little unfortunate,” Scott said. “We tried to get pressure in their half, but we got a little stretched and they got out on the counter. It’s something we work on, but we didn’t do a good job of closing space as a team and it got us.”

The Eagles tied the game with a little more than 15 minutes left in regulation, when Cody Cook sent a pass to the center of the penalty area and Flores knocked it past Newman goalkeeper Steven Hamersky.

“Cody found Sergio with a great ball to get in behind the defense and Sergio had a composed finish,” Scott said.”

Freshman Evan Helker, who replaced Davenport in the goal in the second half, kept OC in the game, recording six saves during his 65-minute stint, his longest of the season. The Jets outshot OC 21-15, including 16-10 in the second half and overtime.

“Evan Helker was huge in goal,” Scott said. “He had three big-time saves in the second half to keep us in it and get the game to overtime.”

Saybounkham made two saves for the Jets.

The tie was the first recorded by the Eagles since Oct. 11, 2011, when OC tied Rogers State 2-2. It also was the first tie in 18 meetings between OC and Newman.

OC will play its home opener Monday at 8 p.m. against St. Gregory’s.