By Kevin Key
Sometimes it is hard to be positive. And currently, the University of Dallas men’s soccer team is once again in need of finding a way to stay positive. After last weekend’s frustrating results, the squad traveled to Shreveport, La. to play against the Centenary College of Louisiana gentlemen. On the road to Friday’s game, UD was looking forward to picking up the win. But the Crusaders started out very sluggishly and did not pick up any steam until the second half, and at that point they were already 1-0 down. If the score had still been tied at zero, UD probably would have been able to keep the momentum going and finish out the game with their first win in four games. However, the Centenary Gents settled in and weathered the storm long enough to pick up one more goal with two minutes left, and the game ended with a disappointing score of 2-0. Fortunately, UD was consoled before the long drive home by a fantastic performance by the UD Lady Crusaders’ 3-0 win.
The next day, the University of Dallas men’s soccer team flew up to Colorado Springs Colo. to play against Colorado College at over 6000 feet elevation. At this point, spirits were rather bleak, and the players were not able to find much to bolster themselves. The game on Sunday began entirely in Colorado College’s favor. The Tigers went up 3-0 over UD after another slow start and some of the Crusaders’ worst defending this season. Once again, the men looked much better in the second half and held the game at 3-0, but the enormity of the deficit was too much to overcome. Regardless of team play, there were a few standout players this past week, including freshman defender Jake Schnell who has consistently been a bastion of strength as left back, and sophomore forward Ben Mannings, who has brought much-needed energy and enthusiasm to the field from the bench.
These slow starts seem to be UD’s present curse, and therefore it is exactly this aspect of their play that has become their No. 1 focus to fix in practice. Be it the pump-up music, pregame food, sleep or just a mental attitude, something has to change for the men’s soccer team. Hopefully, we will see a different side of UD soccer this weekend when both men’s and women’s teams play at home against Schreiner University and Texas Lutheran University.