The men’s soccer team winds down its season with many historical firsts, including a spot in the NCAA Division III National Championships in Belton this weekend. Already this year, the Cru set school records for the most single-season victories and clenched its first ever American Southwest Conference Championship in regular season play.
“The difference in why this year is so different than past years is in the team,” said head soccer Coach Brad Bankhead. “We have 28 young men believing in each other and the team and accepting whatever role … they might be given and are happy with it.”
Last weekend, the Cru hosted its first ASC tournament at home in Belton walking away from the field with a 1-0 victory over Schreiner University on Saturday and a 4-2 loss to Hardin-Simmons University on Sunday after going into double overtime.
Sophomore outside midfielder Kyle Dickey said the team performed well.
“I think the guys played their hearts out, and that’s all anyone can do,” he said. “We played as a team, and it’s not over. Next year, we are going to win it.”
Through the first 110 minutes of the game, both the Cowboys and the Cru remained scoreless. But after a match of penalty kicks, UMHB fell 4-2, finishing the team’s season with a record of 14-3-1 and placing second in the ASC tournament championship. Freshman striker Neiko Camp said it was a character-building experience.
“Going through this season has taught me so much about myself and my teammates,” he said. “I’ve learned the true definition of overcoming and what it means to be able to call ourselves a team.”
Category leaders for the Cru include Bo Baker, Trevor Shoppach, Kyle Dickey, Vincent Morales, Andrew Carrasco, Daniel Gable and Neiko Camp. Additionally, senior defender Daniel Green and junior goalkeeper Mark Miller were placed on the Academic All-District VI First Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Coach Bankhead said the season was overall successful.
“I wasn’t sure how this year would turn out. I knew we would be here someday. I just didn’t realize it would be this year. I am excited for those guys who have been here for four years and have seen the transformation of the program and be able to be rewarded.”