Men’s and Women’s soccer succeeds as season opens

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Photo courtesy of UD Athletics

After over a year without conference play and the cancellation of fall NCAA sports, Crusader Soccer has kicked off their spring season. 

Men’s Soccer began Feb. 25 playing Texas Lutheran University, the reigning SCAC champions. After being set back by a duo of goals from TLU’s Luis Green in the first half, the Crusaders’  Chase Reynolds (Southlake, Texas), assisted by Cody Briggs (Houston, Texas) landed one in the net. 

Dallas outshot their opponents 7-5 in the second half, yet could not make up the deficit, leaving the score at 2-1. Sophomore keeper Goncalo Pernas (Lisbon, Portugal), debuted with four saves. 

Senior Nate Riddle (Millsboro, DE) wrote in a text, “Thursday was a tough game. The conditions weren’t ideal but we showed we can compete with the returning champion from last season….We have a lot of young guys anxious for minutes who are putting in the work and pushing the returners. I’m very optimistic and I know everyone is ready to play again and show the conference that we are a top contender.”

Men’s soccer returned Feb. 27 to play a wet match against Schreiner University. Dallas impressively outshot Shreiner 29-10. However, neither team landed a goal in either half, triggering two overtime periods.

Junior Jose Martinez (Tegucigalpa, Honduras), after three shots on the goal throughout the game, finally ended the scoreless match with a goal in the second overtime, assisted by Reynolds and Riddle. Pernas notched 3 saves. 

Coach David Hoffman wrote in an email. “When that goal went in, it was almost like getting a Christmas gift you have waited all year for… You get that wash of relief, excitement and joy all baked together. You can see the emotions overflow as the bench rushes the field to celebrate with the guys on the field.”  

Hoffman also addressed the struggles of Covid-19 restrictions, but the excitement of being able to play again. He wrote, “It [the COVID restrictions] has been a real challenge. It is incredibly disappointing to not have spectators. However the boys have done a great job complying to restrictions and making the lifestyle choices that are keeping them healthy. The biggest hope has already been realized. We get to play. That makes the all the struggles and burdens worth it.” 

Women’s soccer also faced Schreiner University Feb. 27. Slick conditions hampered footing and resulted in a low shot count of 5-3 in the first half, and 13-5 in the second, both favoring Dallas.  

Despite the weather, the Crusader women managed to land a goal from freshman Avery Seaman (Bedford, Texas) in the 69th minute, assisted by sophomores Alyssa Mencacci (League City, Texas) and Bridgette Alpar (San Antonio, Texas).  

Freshman keeper Macey Henderson (San Antonio, Texas) garnered a clean sheet in her collegiate debut. 

Junior May Lien Le (Katy, Texas) wrote in a text, “I believe our team is really strong and that we work well together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings. This year we are hoping to get to the finals.” 

Coach Lexi Stinson similarly anticipates success this season. Stinson wrote in a text: “To most, Saturday’s game against Schreiner was a victory because of the final score, but to me it was… being able to come together and play a conference game for the first time in 15 months. The players have responded exceptionally to the obstacles that COVID has created.” 

“Each of the last two years we have advanced to the conference tournament semifinal. We hope to build on that and earn a spot competing for the conference championship. Doing that will take hard work, dedication, and focus but I believe our team is up to the task.”

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