Clare Myers, Staff Writer
The University of Dallas men’s soccer team came back from a two-goal deficit to claim a 3-2 victory in its season opener against Fontbonne University this past Saturday afternoon. The fans who braved the 100-plus temperatures at Crusader Field were rewarded with a thrilling match and a strong performance by the team.
The game was scoreless for nearly the entire first half, until Fontbonne put one in the back of the net in the 40th minute. The opposing team scored again at the beginning of the second half, leaving the Crusaders two goals down. Undaunted, the team rose to the occasion and rallied to score three goals late in the game.
Junior captain Mikhail Castillo, assisted by junior Amir Nail, had the first goal of the season. Fellow junior Nathan Nwaeze continued the rally, tying the game in the 76th minute. After several minutes of intense play, Nwaeze scored again on an assist from classmate James Bernard to put the Crusaders in the lead with just five minutes on the clock. UD held on to the lead to chalk up their first win in what promises to be an exciting season.
“I was really proud of how we responded after being two-nil down,” said junior captain Matt Wise. “We played with a combination of patience and perseverance that is especially encouraging, going forward as such a young team.”
In his 11th season as head coach, David Hoffman has 11 returning players and eight freshmen on the squad, four of whom started the match on Saturday. Both keepers who played in the opener, P.J. Hasson and Tino Gamueda, are freshmen, and freshman Barton Holdridge contributed with an assist on Nwaeze’s tying goal.
“I think all of [the freshmen] have the potential to make significant contributions,” Wise said.