UHV hosts ranked Oklahoma City teams
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If You Go
• WOMEN: UHV (4-4) vs. No. 5 Oklahoma City (4-0-0), 3 p.m.
• MEN: UHV (4-6) vs. No. 22 Oklahoma City (4-0-2). 5 p.m.
Another opportunity to showcase their in-season development awaits the University of Houston-Victoria soccer programs. This time, the Jaguars get to host the showdown with one of the top programs in the country.
Friday afternoon the UHV women and men will host Oklahoma City, a program that is ranked in the women's and men's polls. Kickoff in the women's game is at 3 p.m. The men's match will begin 20 minutes after the women are finished.
The women's team enters the contest against the No. 5 Stars playing some of its best soccer of the season. They have a 2-2 record over that period, but even the losses were played at a level higher than the performances in the first four games of the season.
"We're seeing a lot of improvement from the girls," said UHV soccer coach Adrian Rigby. "Even though we're young, we're maturing and playing with a lot of heart. We're starting to get the results our work rate deserves."
The off the ball runs, defensive organization do not always result in victories, but the scores have been much closer. After a pair of blowout losses in the first fortnight of the season, the Jaguars have allowed five goals in their last four matches.
Two of those goals came in a 2-1 loss Monday afternoon against Lubbock Christian.
In that contest, Rigby said, the Jaguars took an early lead and played well for the first 70 minutes. Then, it all fell apart for his team. Lubbock Christian scored twice in the final 10 minutes to win.
"Our girls have to put in a complete game," Rigby said. "They have to play like they did against (UT-Permian Basin). We have to realize after the Lubbock Christian game we can compete with anyone in the nation."
Lubbock Christian was undefeated entering its women's soccer contest with UHV. So is Oklahoma City.
Freshman central defender Darby Price said the communication, and flexibility of the four defenders in the Jaguars 4-3-3 system, have been responsible for the resolute defense.
"We get along really well," Price said. "We talk a lot. We're all so good in the back that we can switch (positions) and keep our shape."
With a laugh, Price added having three midfielders ahead of the defense that win a majority of loose balls makes her job a lot easier.
As for the UHV men, they are 4-6 on the season. Monday's 3-2 victory over Lubbock Christian snapped a three-game losing streak for the Jaguars.
Friday's game against the No. 22 Stars will be the second time this season the Jaguar men host a ranked opponent. The first, on Aug. 25, was a devastating 2-1 loss against Oklahoma Wesleyan, a game the Jaguars lost on an 87th minute goal.
"Some of the bounces we got in the past aren't going for us," Rigby said. "The only way we can get out of that funk is to create your own luck."