After a grueling 90 minutes of regulation play in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) quarterfinal game, the Crusaders found themselves in double overtime for the last time. During the long road of conference play, Dallas worked its way into third place in the SCAC, the team’s best finish in years. Attributable to a handful of developed skill sets, the team links their success to their mentality off and on the field.
“Going into the season, we knew we had a good chance of moving up in the conference and finishing well at the SCAC tournament,” senior forward Colton Allen said. “To do so, though, we had to have the mentality to do whatever it takes to win, every time we stepped on the field.”
With a 7-4-2 conference record going into the tournament, the men had played in all kinds of scenarios, from double-overtime games, to playing in swampy conditions. Learning from their losses and gaining confidence from wins against Trinity University and Southwestern University, Dallas continued to look at every game as an opportunity to prepare for the tournament.
“We learned that we couldn’t take anything for granted, because any team can win on any given day,” sophomore midfielder Luke Schwartz said. “Each game presented new situations and obstacles we had to overcome.”
After a 14-hour drive to Colorado College, Dallas (#3) hosted Schreiner University (#6) for the quarter-final match. Regulation play consisted of zero goals for either team, while Schreiner held a 10-15 advantage in shot attempts. Although the Crusaders put up a good fight, Schreiner dominated possession on the field, with over double the number of shots on goal. The opponent’s only goal came in the second golden goal overtime period — a header off a well-placed 40-yard kick. Without a chance to respond, the Crusaders left the field in disbelief, knowing they had just played their final game.
“It was a tough game to lose,” head coach David Hoffmann said. “[The] boys played fine, but we lacked anyone stepping up to give us an A game.”
Although they ended on a low note, there were positives to take away from the season. The men finished with the best season record in years, and had individual accomplishments as well. Junior forward/winger Barton Holdridge tied for fourth in the SCAC for goals, with 7. Junior goalkeeper Tino Gamueda finished tied for second for saves, with 71. Gamueda also took fifth for save percentage with .772. Allen netted the school’s first hat trick since 2008, and finished seventh in the SCAC for shots with 38.
Looking toward next season, the team looks to continue to build and improve, in hope of returning to the conference tournament. With a relatively young roster, Dallas is only graduating one senior, but one who has been a consistent advantage for the team for four years.
“Colton is one of the best players to have pulled on a shirt for UD,” Hoffmann said. “He will be sorely missed next season.”
With all players but Allen coming back, the Crusaders are ready to start the spring season where they left off this fall, hungry for a championship title.