By Kevin Key
Everyone wants to go out with a bang, and the University of Dallas men’s soccer team seniors sure went out with one in an eventful senior game this past Saturday. It was not moving letters or special performances by seniors that made this weekend’s game stand out. Rather, it was the actions of the Austin College Kangaroos that made the day a remarkable one. In this writer’s opinion, rivalries are more bitter in soccer than in any other sport. Whether it is citywide riots or petty alcohol-induced shouting matches, soccer brings out the pugnaciousness in fans worldwide. Although Austin College and UD are rivals, usually neither school is particularly threatened by the other. However, during Saturday’s game, something seemed to have snapped for the visiting ’Roos. It may be that it was because their season record only included one win, or perhaps it was because it was the last regular season game. Whatever the cause, the game was a bit of a train wreck that just got worse and worse as time ticked by on the clock.
The first half demonstrated regular, although scrappy, play, and the score after 45 minutes was tied at 1-1. Austin College took the lead in the 25th minute after a 20-plus-yard screamer found the net. Almost ten minutes later, freshman Jake Schnell was fouled in the box and drew a penalty kick. Senior captain Matt Wise cleanly finished the PK, earning him his fifth goal of the season. In the first half, only three yellow cards were issued to Kangaroo players. Three yellow cards may seem like an exorbitant amount for a whole game, let alone a single half. But that number proved to be inconsequential in comparison to that in the rest of the match.
The “Dallas Boys” are an unruly group of boys if one looks at the number of cards they traditionally pick up throughout the season. However, Austin College took unruly play to a new level during Saturday’s game. In the second half, the ’Roos merited three more yellow cards and one red card. The red card booking was followed by an incident in which the offender, an Austin College player, forcefully shoved the head official. The closest assistant referee rushed onto the pitch to separate the players from the field referee and calm things down.
Tempers remained high for the rest of the match, especially as time wore down to overtime. In the first four minutes of OT, three more Austin College players were ejected with red cards, reducing their side to seven men. Somehow, throughout all of this, the “Dallas Boys” managed to keep their cool and received only one yellow card of their own. Unfortunately, the short-sided defense could not be broken, and the game ended in a tie. Hopefully, UD’s attempts to win will not be stymied in such a manner this weekend.
Saturday’s senior game against Austin College was the last time that the eight seniors dressed at home. Luckily it will not be the last time they will ever dress for collegiate play in their UD jerseys. The team will be traveling to Texas Lutheran University (TLU) for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament this upcoming weekend where UD will play in a single-game elimination bracket. UD is currently ranked fourth in the conference and will play TLU on Friday for their first game. All following games are undetermined until the first round is complete. If UD beats TLU then the team will continue in the tournament and play again on Saturday.