Eagles loss could prove beneficial

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2006

&8220;Failure is not fatal; failing to change will be.&8221;

John Wooden

For the Oak Mountain Eagles boys&8217; soccer team, losing to Huntsville&8217;s Randolph School could prove to be

beneficial as the season progresses.

Despite seeing a 33-game non-losing streak come to an end with the 3-0 loss in Saturday&8217;s Lakeshore Shootout at Spain Park High School, the Eagles have a chance to come away from the match with a lot of lessons learned.

Trying to mimic last year&8217;s Class 6A state championship team is not going to be an easy feat for an Oak Mountain squad that lost 11 seniors to graduation.

The Eagles played four solid matches, with a slew of new faces in the lineup, prior to Saturday&8217;s loss &8212; earning big wins over Shades Valley and John Carroll in the preliminary rounds of the Shootout tourney.

All that hard work, and the valiant effort in the final game, will be for nothing if the squad does not learn from their mistakes.

This team, by no means, is the same as the squad that was named the No. 1 high school soccer team in the U.S. at the end of last season. But that doesn&8217;t mean they can&8217;t strive to earn similar accolades.

Losing in an early-season, and relatively un-important contest, could be just what the Eagles needed to jumpstart another title run.

It&8217;s true they&8217;re no longer the unbeaten giants they were coming into last weekend&8217;s tournament. But understanding that being perfect is not a necessity to contend for a state championship will go a long way to helping Oak Mountain earn the recognition that they deserve.

Oak Mountain coach Ryan Patridge told his team that he feels like they are still the best team in the state despite the loss but warned that his squad must learn from their mistakes if they want to succeed.

If that&8217;s the stance the Eagles take for the remainder of the 2006 season, don&8217;t be too surprised if you see them contend for a repeat title come May 12