This weekend was an all-or-nothing match for the University of Dallas men’s soccer team. With two tough teams lined up, Southwestern University on Friday and No. 5 Trinity University on Sunday, the Dallas boys released every ounce of strength and energy they had, and left it on the field.
The first match against Southwestern ended in a glorious win after multiple chances left both teams scoreless until the last few minutes of the match. The lone goal was scored by freshman forward Mikhail Castillo in the 86th minute. Statistically both teams were evenly matched. Dallas had 15 shots with six on goal while Southwestern had 12 shots with four on goal. Both teams appeared to have an equal percentage of possession throughout both halves; however, when push came to shove, it was UD who mustered their strength and put one in the back of the net.
The beginning of the first half saw passive play. With a solo Dallas forward up top, Southwestern continued to slide the ball from one side of the field to the next until finally attempting to launch forward and attack. Their attack style generally saw a pass down the line to the outside midfielder. He then flicked the ball over his head or into the midfield to an awaiting center midfielder, who then pushed the ball through to their forward or back to the wing player. Dallas chose to possess through the midfield and play their outside wings wide and then play a crossed ball into the box for a header or shot off of a deflected ball. With 11 shots alone in the first half, this strategy was successful with Nathan Nwaeze and Michael Chapman supplying the crossed balls. Chapman and Matthew Wise also each had great shots from around 20 yards from the box that were either saved by the keep or launched over the goal.
The second half led to less possession for UD. Dallas began to attack more directly, attempting to push through the defense with a fast solo forward, Garrett Johnson, as well as Nawaeze’s speed out wide. Southwestern had more of the ball this half and thus took eight of their 12 shots in the second half. The defense and goal keeper held strong and deflected these attempts. The teams went blow for blow for the remainder of the half until a long ball flew over the defense onto Mikhail’s run. The ball was deflected outside the goal, and the keeper and Castillo sprinted for the ball. Castillo reached the ball first and turned and fired as quickly as possible, landing it in the top of the net for UD’s third home victory in a row.
The Crusaders’ Sunday match against the Trinity Tigers was Senior Day. The Crusader’s honored six seniors for their effort and commitment to the program. The seniors were Michael Chapman, Preston Waltrip, Derek Yoder, Blaise DuFrain, Kevin Potts and Ian Reynolds. With their final home game at their doorstep and a chance to go onto the SCAC tournament, the Dallas boys fought with all their might against a titan team who had not yet been defeated.
Upon the opening of the first half, Trinity displayed quick ball movement and excellent possession. A large team, they controlled the ball for the majority of the first half and put high pressure on the Crusaders’ goal. Despite their control of the field, Trinity did not have a multitude of scoring chances.
The Dallas defense proved effective until a ball launched over the top was tipped by a Trinity defender just over Dallas goalkeeper James Kerin in the 30th minute. With the opening goal, Trinity resumed their possession.
To begin the second half, the Dallas boys huddled up to rebuild the team’s moral. Trinity was no doubt a terrific team; however, they had not threatened much in the first half besides their single goal.
Dallas took the field with fervor and returned to the fight. The Crusaders continued to build chances and adapt to the speed of play.
After stealing the ball from one of the Tigers, a long ball over the top to Matthew Wise yielded a penalty kick when Wise beat a defender and was then fouled by two Tigers and the goalkeeper. Dallas converted and tied the match at 1-1. The fight continued until a long ball went into the Crusaders’ box. Kerin was hit in the air, causing the ball to flick off his gloves and fly into the back of the net. Dallas fought back to avenge the goal, almost gaining one when Trinity’s keeper fell into the net, but their efforts were neutralized and the game ended, 1-2 Trinity.
Congratulations to all the senior Dallas boys and head coach David Hoffmann for another amazing season. We had a wonderful ride, and may those behind us continue to pave the way for this wonderful program.