OXFORD -- The Oxford College women's soccer team will bring its frustrating and injury-plagued season to a close Saturday when the Lady Eagles host Gordon College at Bivings Field.
Oxford coach Gregory Moss-Brown said that Sunday's game at South Carolina-Lancaster was canceled due to the rampant injury-and-illness bug that has seemingly affected every player, not to mention coaches and staff.
"Ironically, it was when we played Lancaster the first time that our goalkeeper (Willa Brooks) suffered a broken clavicle," Moss-Brown said. "That and other injuries left us a little too short to play, so we had to cancel the Lancaster game.
"It's just been one of those years -- it's been one thing after another. Kalysea Lovan had a pinched nerve in her back, and one of our captains, Anna Bausum, wound up with a torn ACL. Strained muscles, soreness -- you name it, we've had it. And more than anything else, we had a flu bug go through the team that pretty much got to everybody, including one of our coaches. It's been nuts."
Oxford (2-8-1) last took the field on Sept. 28 against Georgia Military College in a 6-0 loss that Moss-Brown said was much closer than the final score indicated.
"We were down 2-0 at the half against Georgia Military and the girls were playing out of their minds," he said. "But we just didn't have the strength and endurance to stay with them in the second half. We only had two substitutes. ... Georgia Military was probably the fittest team we've played. They were very impressive and I felt we matched them all the way through."
Now completing his second year as the Lady Eagles' coach, Moss-Brown admitted it has been an exasperating fall campaign, although he's been pleased with his players' willingness to continue to compete.
"We really haven't been able to be at full strength at any time this season," he said. "And losing Willa was probably the last blow. She was doing so well and all of a sudden that came along. The way I look it, you remain positive. You're always going to have things thrown at you that may be not so positive but you deal with it.
"It's always about the approach. We've gone into every game with a positive outlook. I don't know, many other players and coaches might have folded by now, but it's the strength and force of your personality that allow you to push through. The last game is an example of that -- the score doesn't really tell the story and how these girls battled and fought with Georgia Military."
In Saturday's 5 p.m. game against Gordon College, Oxford will pay tribute to its sophomores -- including Bausum, Brooks, Stephanie Stutts and Allison Gilland -- as it seeks to end the season on a winning note. Gordon College (2-10) has lost six of its last seven games and one of its only victories this season came on Sept. 9 when the Lady Highlanders defeated Oxford 2-0 in Barnesville.
"It should be an interesting game, to say the least" Moss-Brown said. "The girls will be fired up and we'll celebrate Sophomore Night. It should be quite a good match."
For more information on the Oxford College women's soccer team, visit www.oxford.emory.edu/athletics.