This week the University of Dallas men’s soccer team played three matches. The first was a home match against Southwestern Assemblies of God University while the following two matches were played in Kansas against Bethany College and Southwestern College.
The Crusaders’ match against SAGU was just short of being a heart-stopper. With shots flying just outside the post and teeth-clenching saves, the entire 110 minutes of the match left the players and crowd alike in awe. The beginning of the first half saw SAGU with the majority of the ball possession. Their speed and agility along with a solid set of midfielders capable of distributing the ball left Dallas at a chase in the early stages of the match. Capitalizing on the Crusaders’ frustration, SAGU slotted the ball to #10 Danny Martinez who completed the play with a goal in the 26th minute. While the opening goal was painful for UD, the experience gained in their previous match, when they came back in three separate instances to equalize the match, gave them the discipline to carry on. Just six minutes before the end of the first half, this discipline paid off with an equalizer from freshman midfielder Nathan Nwaeze assisted by freshman midfielder Juan Hernandez Reyes.
The second half mirrored the same possession statistics as the first. SAGU’s Martinez placed another ball in the back of the home team’s net to give the visitor’s a goal advantage. Dallas fired back with an amazing equalizing goal from Reyes in which he flicked a long ball into the top of the goal off of a long ball from junior defender Joey Killion. Just as equilibrium re-established itself, two players on SAGU were sent off due to excessive fouls and rough play. Taking advantage of the situation, Dallas switched to a 4-4-2 formation to put more pressure on SAGU’s defenders as the Crusaders launched their final assault. Shots were blasted at the goal, crossbars were hit and amazing shots were saved as the breathtaking performance came to an end.
The Dallas boys then travelled the countryside to play against Bethany College in Kansas. Having improved from match to match, Bethany was the unlucky victim who faced Dallas on the day which they put together a more complete game.
From the match statistics alone, it was clear that Bethany College was constantly in a defensive stance. Dallas overwhelmed Bethany with 23 shots (17 shots on goal) to Bethany’s seven (five on goal). Bethany also totaled 29 fouls throughout the match to Dallas’ 17. The opening of the first half saw Dallas in possession and control, as they tallied 14 shots over the course of 45 minutes including an early fourth-minute goal off a header from junior outside midfielder Alex Lebl.
After the Crusaders’ first goal, the accumulation of fouls and shots against Bethany led to a very hostile on-field environment for the remainder of the match. Fights nearly erupted, and late in the 66th minute of the match, senior midfielder and co-captain Preston Waltrip was fouled and left with a broken arm. Ultimately the whistle blew with a score of 1-0, and Dallas walked off the field with its first victory of the season.
Dallas began its first winning streak of the season with a 3-2 victory over Southwestern College. The first goal of the match was an early, left-footed shot to the corner of the net by sophomore outside midfielder Garret Johnson. This was the second game in a row that the Dallas boys landed the first goal of the game, both goals coming in the first 10 minutes of the match. With the game opener on their side, the Crusaders again launched forward in attack with another goal, this time coming from freshmen forward/midfielder Matt Wise. Southwestern fired back with a single goal which was followed by a header from Nwaeze. With a 3-1 Dallas lead, Southwestern scored in the last few minutes, but every attempt to tie the match was futile. Dallas prevailed 3-2 to end the week with a 2-1 record and a two-game winning streak. This weekend Dallas will seek to continue its winning streak in Arkansas against Lyon College.