What’s in a Game: Strong Start for Men’s Soccer

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University of Dallas photo.

On Friday, Sept. 15, the University of Dallas men’s soccer team pulled off what was probably the biggest victory in program history, and maybe the biggest win for any University of Dallas athletics program. They went into San Antonio and beat the Trinity Tigers 3-2 in overtime. Trinity was ranked fourth in the country and had won 47 games in a row at home.

While the team is rightfully being praised for the tremendous win, this isn’t the first time UD soccer has upset Trinity. Two years ago, Trinity was ranked number one in the country when they came to Irving to face off with the Crusaders. The Tigers dominated the game, outshooting UD 13-5 and playing most of the game in Dallas’s defensive end, but the Crusaders held Trinity scoreless and managed to score with their lone shot on net in the 81st minute to upset Trinity 1-0. It was the first time UD had ever beaten Trinity.

This time was different. The Crusaders didn’t steal this game against the Tigers. They had more shots on goal, led 2-1 for most of the second half, and when Trinity tied the game in the 81st minute, the Crusaders, who have struggled offensively this year, fought back and won the game in overtime.

Two years ago when the Crusaders upset Trinity, they used the win to springboard them into a 7-4-2 conference record. However, the team went to Trinity a few weeks later and lost 5-0, before ultimately losing to Schreiner in the first round of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament. This time, the UD soccer team has a chance to be even better.

The Trinity win wasn’t the first big result for the soccer team this year. On Sept. 8, the team traveled up to Colorado Springs and tied Colorado College 0-0 in a strange game that was delayed by lightning and ended early due to darkness. Colorado College is currently ranked 24th in the country by the United States Soccer Coaches rankings. After beating Trinity, the team traveled to Schreiner two days later and took care of business winning 1-0.

Dallas has a lot going for them right now early in the season. They’ve already faced the two best teams in the conference on the road, and beat one and tied the other. They will have to play Trinity and Colorado again, but they will play them both at home. The team also plays host to the SCAC tournament this year.

As of Sept. 23, Dallas sits atop of the SCAC standings with a 3-0-1 record. The team has been strong defensively in the past few years but has struggled to score goals, leading to a lot of close losses and ties. However, the team seems to be finding its groove offensively thanks to some young forwards in sophomores Chima Ogueri and Hunter Haugland as well as freshman Nat Kajiwara. Those three have combined for nine of the team’s 11 goals so far this season.

The Crusaders have put the SCAC on notice with their early performance and have proven to be serious contenders for the conference crown. If they keep playing the way they have, the rest of the country will take notice as well. The team received 17 votes in the latest D3soccer.com poll, which would be good enough for 34th in the country. If the team keeps winning, they’ll find themselves in the top 25 soon, and could pull off a truly special season.

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