Despite a shorter season due to COVID-19 restrictions, the University of Dallas women’s soccer team competed in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championship after its most recent win against Southwestern University. The Crusaders have had an exemplary season, improving on last year’s shorter playoff run that lasted until semifinals. This season, women’s soccer had a 4-2 regular season record, and experienced a great playoff run.
Kicking off their season on Feb. 27, the team started off strong with a defensive performance that held Schreiner University to a shot count of just six in the entirety of the game. The Crusaders had over double the shots on goal (18), and in the 68th minute freshman Avery Seaman (Bedford, Texas) managed to score the only goal of the game. The Crusaders secured their first victory of the season against Schreiner University with a final score of 1-0.
Fast forward to the middle of their season, the Crusaders faced off against Trinity University at home on March 20. The game mostly took place on the defensive side of the field for UD, as Trinity’s star studded offense controlled the tempo for the bulk of the game. The Crusaders were able to fend off the opposing team’s bombardment for the most part thanks to keeper Macey Henderson’s (San Antonio, Texas) with a career-high 16 saves. Unfortunately, the Crusaders fell to the Tigers in overtime (1-0) despite a solid defensive performance in their toughest game of the regular season.
Bouncing back from the tough loss, the Crusaders continued to win their last two games of the regular season against Austin College and St. Thomas College. With a pair of goals from Maddie Rodriguez (Houston, Texas) and Alyssa Mencacci (League City, Texas), they secured the win against Austin College (2-1). In their third shutout of the season, Seaman assisted Mencacci in the 65th minute for the only goal of the game. The UD Crusaders defeated the Lions 1-0.
Heading into the quarter finals, the 3rd seeded UD women’s soccer team battled against the 6th seed St. Thomas. Dallas opened up the game’s scoring with a left footed score into the corner of the net from Andrea Coppi (Keller, Texas) in the 21st minute with the assist from Rodriguez. The Lions bounced back quickly just seconds later with a floating shot in the upper corner, leaving the game tied 1-1.
After a large scoring drought, Dallas retook the lead in the 70th minute with another goal scored by Coppi, slicing the ball into the side netting off a penalty shot. With no response from the Lions, the UD Crusaders secured the victory in the quarterfinals round for the third consecutive year with a final score of 2-1.
Being in a defensive standoff for almost the entirety of the game, the UD Crusaders met Southwestern University for the semifinal round of the SCAC playoffs on April 24. The teams had similar shooting totals in both halves, with UD barely garnering the advantage with shots on goal (16-12 and 7-6). In double overtime, Coppi scored the “golden” goal off of a left footed shot that hit off the goal post. With the fourth shut-out of the season thanks to the excellent goal prevention from Henderson and the defense, the Crusaders picked up another playoff win.
After being asked about the win against Southwestern University, freshman Courtney Bokanyi (Montgomery, Texas) said, “The win against Southwestern was a huge excitement for the team because all of the hard work we’ve been putting into practice and games has paid off. We all played really well today and worked for each other, our seniors, our coaches, and our school. I couldn’t be more excited about the win from today.”
Advancing to the SCAC Women’s Soccer Championship Match, the Crusaders played against the undefeated Trinity University on April 25. Challenging the Tigers for the second time this season, the Crusaders struggled offensively against the tough Trinity defense. UD could only produce two shot attempts in both halves compared to Trinity’s massive display of 49 total shot attempts.
A pair of goals were scored by Trinity within the first six minutes of the game, with the remainder of the match mostly taking place on UD’s defensive side of the field. Despite 14 saves from Henderson, the Crusaders were unable to bounce back from the Tigers’ offensive barrage as they scored two more goals later in the second half. The team fell to Trinity University 4-0 in their last match of the season.
Despite the unfortunate loss, senior Lexi Tocci (Austin, Texas) was amazed by her team’s performance this year and optimistic towards the team’s future next year as well.
“Obviously the championship game didn’t go how we would have wanted but the team battled hard until the end,” Tocci said. “This year was the first time we made it to the championship in a long time and that was a big win in itself. I have no doubt that next year the team could go home from the championship game with a win!”