OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 18, 2012) – Whatever had been ailing Oklahoma Christian the past few games disappeared Thursday night when the Eagles hosted Heartland Conference rival St. Mary’s (Texas).
Buoyed by strong offensive performances by Domenico DeGrazia, Ricardo Chinchilla, Brandon Little Axe and Tommy Guernsey and a stellar effort in the goal by Connor Davenport, OC snapped a three-game losing skid with a 5-0 romp over the Rattlers.
Coach David Scott made several lineup changes and they proved successful as OC (6-7) completed a season sweep of St. Mary’s (3-8-1). Davenport, making his third career start, recorded a career-high 11 saves in posting his second career shutout. He’s won all three of those starts.
“He did a great job,” Scott said. “We couldn’t have asked him to do anything else.”
Scott also brought Little Axe and Guernsey off the bench against St. Mary’s and they responded well. Little Axe scored a goal and assisted on two others, while Guernsey scored a key goal late in the first half to put the Eagles up 2-0, then assisted on a late goal by DeGrazia.
Chinchilla scored OC’s first goal and later assisted on another, while DeGrazia posted his second two-goal, two-assist game of the season.
“We felt if we made these changes it would result in a big difference in our attitude,” Scott said. “From the start, we were buzzing around. We played well. It’s something we’ve needed. We haven’t seen that energy in a while.”
Chinchilla put OC ahead in the 19th minute, weaving through defenders before beating St. Mary’s goalkeeper Patrick Kasperitis from 15 yards out. In the 34th minute, DeGrazia’s short corner kick went to Chinchilla, who passed to Guernsey. Guernsey caught Kaperitis leaning and scored to make it 2-0.
St. Mary’s put some pressure on OC’s defense in the first 30 minutes of the second half, but Davenport and the Eagles’ back line, led by Matt McLain, held firm. DeGrazia took a pass from Little Axe and beat Kasperitis from 12 yards out in the 76th minute to effectively seal the win.
The Rattlers’ Josh Stevens received a red card and was ejected in the 79th minute, leaving St. Mary’s a player down. OC took advantage with two late goals. Little Axe headed home a corner kick by DeGrazia in the 83rd minute, and in the 89th minute, Guernsey and Little Axe assisted on DeGrazia’s goal from eight yards out.
“Duc (Huynh) came in and did a great job for us up top and Brandon came in with fresh legs off the bench and had a goal and two assists,” Scott said. “It was really a team effort tonight. Everybody had a part in the win.”
St. Mary’s lost despite outshooting OC 21-16. Kasperitis made seven saves.
OC will continue a five-game homestand on Saturday, when the Eagles will host Texas A&M International.