The University of Dallas men’s soccer team has completed their most successful regular season as a part of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), and now look to make some noise in the conference tournament.
The Crusaders are going into the tournament with the advantage of having a first round bye, as a result of finishing second place in the SCAC standings. UD also has home field advantage.
The other teams who qualified, in order of seeding, are Trinity University, Colorado College, Austin College, Texas Lutheran University and Southwestern University. During the regular season, the Crusaders faced all of these teams twice and beat each at least once, with the exception of Colorado College, who they tied once and lost to once.
The Crusaders are excited about playing at home and are going into the weekend with a high level of confidence.
“We know we have the ability to beat any team in the conference,” senior defender Jake Schnell said. “Playing at home we will have the advantage of the crowd to help us keep fighting and give us extra energy.”
Midfielder A.J. Zaugg had similar thoughts, mentioning homefield advantage and their season’s record as reasons for optimism.
Sophomore forward Hunter Haugland believes that the team can draw confidence from how well they played together all season.
“Going in with a bye and knowing the results we have had this season, it gives our team a good confidence boost that we can win the tournament,” Haugland said.
However, Haugland also said that the Crusaders cannot overlook any team and that they must continue to put in hard work.
“It won’t be an easy weekend, as the six teams left are all serious contenders, so we really have to keep training hard this upcoming week,” Haugland said.
The team favored by most to win the tournament is Trinity University, who is ranked number two in the nation and has only lost one game all season. Of course, this one loss came at the hands of the Crusaders, which is a big source of confidence for the team.
UD split the series with Trinity University, but even in the loss the game went to double overtime.
The Crusaders have proven twice this season that they can match up evenly with the Tigers if they end up meeting in the conference final.
However, before that, the Crusaders must face the winner of Friday’s Colorado-Southwestern matchup in the semifinal.
Colorado could prove to be a formidable opponent, as it is the one team in the tournament that UD has not beaten. UD tied them in Colorado Springs at the beginning of the conference season but lost to them at home this past Friday. The Crusaders beat Southwestern 2-1 in both matchups.
The Crusaders will surely be paying attention to this matchup on Friday, as they will face the winner on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Austin College takes on Texas Lutheran to open the tournament at 11 a.m. on Friday. The winner will face Trinity at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The championship will be at 12 p.m. on Sunday.