The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) handed out their postseason awards on Nov. 14 and the University of Dallas men’s soccer team was well-represented.
Head coach David Hoffman was named coach of the year, freshman forward Nat Kajiwara was named newcomer of the year, and defenders Eric Haigh and Brady McNamara, forwards Hunter Haugland and Kajiwara, and midfielders Andrew Ciancone and Luke Schwarz were named to the All-SCAC team.
Hoffman led the team to a 10-2-2 conference record, finishing second overall and falling to Trinity in the conference championship game.
“To have my peers select me suggests that they collectively feel the team really outperformed our resources and the expectations others had for us,” Hoffman said.
“Getting to be on the All-SCAC team is a great honor for me and a great recognition for all of the hard work put into the season,” Haigh said.
Haigh and Haugland were both named to the first team All-SCAC, while Kajiwara and Ciancone were named to the second team. Schwarz and McNamara were honorable mentions.
“My goal at the beginning of the season was to get playing time on this new team, but my mindset changed as my teammates encouraged and supported me through the year,” Kajiwara said of his award. “It gives me a lot of confidence going forward, and really motivates me to be the best player I can be for my team.”
Perhaps the most encouraging part for the Crusaders is that all that were honored besides Schwarz will be back next year.
“It […] shows how young our team is, and how they have the potential to do well in the coming years as well,” Schwarz said.
“My hope and belief is that this team’s standard can be the program’s standard for at least the near future,” Hoffman said. “We have a young team that has had our highest level in the SCAC years. Each year is a new team, but, we are on the cusp of being able to have a sustained period of success.”
While the individuals are proud of their own awards, their teammates being honored is just as important to them.
“In the end, the team’s accomplishments are what make me proud,” Haugland said. “Every person added something to our progress as a team, and that’s what led to our success this season. It makes it so much better, having numerous teammates represented, as it shows that it wasn’t just any one person that performed this season.”
Haigh and Schwarz shared similar thoughts.
“The best part is definitely the fact that so many other players from the team were also chosen,” Haigh said. “I think this shows that we are one of the top teams in the conference and that we can compete with anyone.”
“It shows that our team was actually a team and not just one or two players,” Schwarz said. “Everyone contributed to get us where we finished and it’s nice for certain guys to receive some recognition.”
“I absolutely owe it all to them,” Kajiwara said of his teammate’s influence on his success. “To have other people recognize not only their talent, but their leadership the way I do is a great feeling.”