By Kaleb Vining
The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference nominated Joshua Eibl, sophomore goalkeeper, as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week and Malvin Mupondi, freshman wing, as the Offensive Player of the Week.
Winning the KCAC Player of the Week for soccer is an honor. However, two players from the same team winning it for offense and defense is an even bigger honor.
These awards are well deserved for both players after a blowout 7-0 game against the Avila Eagles.
Eibl played big in the game with five saves, two of which, were super saves. He also had 36 passes with a 92% completion rate.
Mupondi also dominated the field with three goals, also known as a hat trick. Mupondi also tacked on one assist in the team’s victory.
Eibl said he was very excited about being awarded KCAC Defensive Player of the Week and had nothing but great things to say about his team.
“We played pretty good as a team and our defense has improved a lot,” said Eibl.
Both players’ families also watched the game from Germany and Africa online and were able to spectate their performances. Mupondi said his mother called him from Zimbabwe after the game to congratulate him on the win.
“I have been working so hard and I am just really happy that the hard work is paying off. I am just very happy,” said Mupondi. Eibl said his family is excited for him as well.
Eibl’s performance is huge since he is recovering from an MCL injury from last year.
“It has been a tough year for me because I was injured for a long time. It was important to me that we won as a team and that we kept a clean sheet as a team. We are on the right way and are focusing on the next game,” said Eibl.
Sometimes, a new approach before a game can be the best preparation and that is exactly what Mupondi had in mind. He said he was more improved as a competitor for this past game.
“Based off the last game I really focused on improving and doing more personal workouts which made me well prepared for this last match,” said Mupondi.
Lewis Derrett, assistant soccer coach, had nothing but great things to say about both players.
“Malvin is a Freshman so that is always an exciting thing, and Josh Eibl was supposed to play for us last season, but he never even got to come here last year because his MCL injury, so this is his first season as well,” said Derrett.
Derrett also said that it is huge to get one KCAC Player of the Week, but to get the offensive and defensive in the same week is even better. “We were really happy about it,” said Derrett.
The coaching staff also decided that they were finally good enough this year to give the players more freedom, said Derret. The coaches really chose a new approach for this game and it paid off.
“We put the ball more in the players’ court, and it just worked out better for us,” said Derrett.
Mupondi and Eibl said they are both looking forward to the rest of the season. Their performances have shined a light on their upcoming games and has put the team on a two-game win streak.
Eibl said, “It was nice to win Offensive Player of the Week, but we have to focus on the next game and have to achieve our goals.”
The team will take on the Sterling Warriors at home on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1:30 p.m.