Thomas van der Meulen provides a quandary for Oklahoma Christian's opponents, as they often struggle to match up against the Eagles' 6-foot-7 forward. It certainly proved to be an issue for Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday night.
Van der Meulen found himself open in the penalty box late in the second overtime and he knew what to do, slotting home a pass from Diego Vazquez for a golden goal that gave OC a 2-1 win over the Bison at the Eagle Soccer Field.
It was the second game-winning goal in as many games this season for van der Meulen, a freshman from Grou, Netherlands. He's scored in four of the five games in which he's appeared for the Eagles, having recorded two goals last season before suffering a season-ending injury.
OC (2-0) won for the second straight year over OBU (1-1). The Bison's physicality resulted in a 26-13 edge in total fouls as well as four yellow cards and a red card. The red card, issued to Felipe Robertson in the 64th minute, forced OBU to play a man down the rest of the way.
OC took the lead just 43 seconds into the game, when Carlos Trapero fed D'Waylan McIntosh for a shot from inside the penalty box. McIntosh, a sophomore from Broken Arrow, slotted the ball past OBU goalkeeper Elias Diaz. OC caught another early break when, after a handball by the Eagles in the penalty box, OBU's Alejandro Castillo banged a penalty kick off the right post in the 10th minute.
The Eagles had two goals, one by van der Meulen and another by McIntosh, called back due to fouls, and OC's Jaiden van der Heijden also hit the left post in the 30th minute.
OBU tied the game in the 53rd minute when Castillo lasered a low free kick from outside the box through traffic and into the goal. Even playing a man down, the Bison pressed forward and actually outshot OC 8-7 in the second half, even though the Eagles had a 26-16 advantage for the game.
Finally, in the 108th minute, Vazquez collected the ball on the left side of the penalty box and sent a cross to van der Meulen, who beat OBU goalkeeper Parker Lawter with a shot into the lower left corner of the goal.
Lawter played the overtime periods for OBU and didn't record a save, while Diaz had four saves. OC goalkeeper Anthony Trabichet made six saves.
The Eagles will face a pair of tests next week, visiting former Heartland Conference rival Rogers State on Thursday night before hosting NCAA Division II power Northeastern State on Saturday.