On Aug. 30, University of Dallas men’s soccer defeated Howard Payne University 5-1 to open their 2019 season. The victory was followed by losses to University of Wisconsin-Superior on September 1 (3-1) and to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on Friday (2-0).
“As a team with most of our players returning from a season that included a trip to the conference finals only two years ago, it’s no surprise to anyone that a 1-2 start to the season is disappointing to us as players, regardless of how highly ranked our opponents have been,” said junior Chase Reynolds, who scored two of the Crusader’s six overall goals this season.
Reynolds scored the first goal of the season in the match against Howard Payne, followed by senior Chima Ogueri and junior Nat Kajiwara. Another goal by Reynolds and freshman Carlos Trevino in his collegiate debut finished up an exciting first half. The Crusaders held off the Yellow Jackets until the ball found the back of the net in the 56th minute.
Ogueri scored the lone goal against UW-Superior, assisted by junior Nicholas Opsahl, in the 89th minute of the game.
According to UD men’s soccer coach David Hoffmann, UW-Superior and UMHB both participated in the National Tournament last year and are both defending conference champions. UMHB has an 11-0 record with UD, and UW-Superior is coming off of a 19-3-1 record for its 2018 season, according to UD Athletics.
“I think there is disappointment in the losses… however there is a sense of balance at the same time,” said Hoffmann. “Our expected goals were very close to the opposition in both games… UW-Superior and UMHB are both defending Conference Champions and National Tournament participants last year. So we understood we were taking on a challenge when we added them to the schedule.”
Despite the high rank of UD’s opponents, UD and UW-Superior were evenly matched with 13 shots each. Similarly, UD attempted 17 shots on UMHB while the Cru attempted 22 shots.
Dallas goalkeeper and junior Calab Strange earned a career-high of 10 saves against UMHB, including a penalty kick save. Strange said that the scores are not representative of just how close these matches were.
“It’s hard to not get caught up in the 3-1 and 2-0 score lines from the last two games,” said Strange. “These games are much closer than the score shows and speaks to the margin of error allowed at the collegiate level.”
The Crusaders will host Schreiner University on Sept, 20 for their next official game. To break up that time, UD will scrimmage Solar Development Academy, who recently won a national championship and who’s roster includes four players signed to professional soccer teams, according to Hoffmann.
The Crusaders are confident that this time of rest and the scrimmage against Solar DA will hone the team for the rest of the season.
“We look forward to using this week off to work on the details that have lead to us falling behind in games and plan on developing more of an attacking presence,” said Strange. “We have a solid foundation of returning players with a handful of freshmen that could have a positive impact on the season going forward.”
“We have all the time in the world to come together and get back to winning ways,” said Reynolds.