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Men's Soccer - Wed, Sep. 13, 2017

It hasn't taken long for Prichard Sibanda and Rodrigo Oliveira to gel as teammates in their first season together at Briar Cliff. Sibanda currently leads the NAIA in goals (12), goals per game (3.0), total points (27) and points per game (6.75) and Oliveira is number one in the nation in total assists (6). 

"With those two, they're both intelligent soccer players and I think that is the main reason that they clicked so well," said Briar Cliff head men's soccer coach Lewis Wilcox. "There is nothing crazy that we are doing behind the scene that is helping them out. They just both love playing together and I think they clicked really quickly and they understand what each other's needs are."

Sibanda and Oliveira have the Charger offense clicking on all cylinders, averaging 24.2 shots per game, 6.0 goals per game and 3.4 assists per game thanks in large part to their bond off the field. "Largely, we are good friends off the field as well," stated Sibanda. "When we are together on the field it's easy to adapt. We are good friends and we are linked together."

Oliveira believes the two player's strength are a perfect match as well. "Our chemistry is great. He has the strength and speed, which is what a forward needs and as a midfielder I have to hold the ball, dribble and try to create space for him," remarked Oliveira. "Our chemistry is really working so far."

Sibanda and Oliveira have been recognized for their early season success with both players being named the GPAC Men's Soccer Offensive Player of the Week, with Sibanda already earning the honor twice. Sibanda has also been recognized on the national stage, being named the NAIA Offensive Player of the Week this week after scoring five goals and having one assist last week in a 6-2 win over Avila. The accomplishments are nice, but the Chargers are also focused on bigger things.

"We don't read too much into that stuff and we don't let that stuff get to our heads," stated coach Wilcox. "It is always a nice recognition and it shows you are doing something right as a player but it doesn't work for them unless the rest of the team is working, so I guess the rest of the team can take pride in that as well. We don't read too much into that, but it is always nice to get recognized."

Coach Wilcox is in his first season as the head coach of the Chargers and not only is he impressed with the early connection between Sibanda and Oliveira, he believes the whole team has been able to come together quickly and that is a key to the early success this season.

"The overall team chemistry is great. Obviously I have only been here a couple months and the time I have spent with the team has been great," said Wilcox. "I think the togetherness on the team has really caused us to have a decent start this season and without that I'm not sure we would be 4-1."

The 4-1 Chargers have won three straight games and now head into their toughest test of the season with a road game at Bellevue this evening at 5 p.m. The Bruins are currently receiving votes in the NAIA top 25 poll.

"Bellevue is probably going to be our toughest test so far as a team this season," commented Wilcox. "Bellevue is a good team traditionally and I think it's important for us that we carry on working well on the top. We have guys that are informed and are working well together so it's important we keep doing that. At the same time, we have to be solid at the back and keep the ball for good periods of time and I think that will give us a good chance of winning the game."

Briar Cliff's next home game will be September 23rd as part of Homecoming Weekend when York comes to Faber Field for a 4:15 kickoff. 

Sep. 21
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