The Halloween weekend of Oct. 29-30 proved to be an intense sports- filled weekend for the university. Not only did CRU win their football game against Howard Payne, but the men and women’s soccer competed against Schreiner University and Texas Lutheran University Friday and Saturday at the Cru Sports Plex.
This season, both soccer teams have done well. Recently, the men’s team was ranked in the Top 25 in the country in a pair of national polls. The Cru holds down the #23 spot in the nation. They’re also ranked third in the West Region in the NCAA Regional Rankings.
Sophomore Christian studies major Neiko Camp said, “The difference between this season and last is our work ethic and our unity as a team. We’ve all become best friends.”
Head coach of men’s soccer Brad Bankhead said, “What’s unique about our team is that no particular person is the best. Everyone’s just really good.”
The women’s soccer team has won four games with a record of 4-1. They are tied for sixth out of 14 teams.
Head Coach Meg Brown said, “We’ve been jumping hurdles all season long. It hasn’t been an easy season however, everyone’s learned about themselves.”
Sophomore nursing major Sam Thomas said, “Most of us do this for fun and we’re lucky to have a coach who’s very encouraging and makes sure we still have time to make good grades.”
Both teams have tough practices to prepare for upcoming games.
Camp said, “We warm up for ten, fifteen minutes, practice technical work, and then progress into a bigger and bigger game. We’re always running, even if it’s just getting water. We definitely like to keep the intensity high.”
Bankhead added, “We try to get their mind out of the classroom and any stresses in their life.”
Women’s soccer practices are just like the guys. “We usually do a couple drills, practice what need to work on, and do a scrimmage,” Thomas said.
There have been two games that have essentially stood out to both teams.
Camp said, “The game I most remember is the one against Hardin-Simmons. Everything started out when the Hardin-Simmons coach stood on our side wearing the (American Southwest Conference) tournament shirt. He made some smart comments and then walked off. This started out the emotional filled game. We kept pressing, and pressing and it was close to a fight. We lost in overtime but we said to ourselves, that’s the last time we’re losing. And the next game we played Howard Payne and we dominated. So that Hardin-Simmons game didn’t discourage us. It only made us stronger.”
Thomas said, “A game that stands out to me is the Mississippi game. One of my teammates got a red card, so we were down a girl. But then, with 33 seconds left, we scored. It was really exciting. That was the first weekend we won both games.”
This past Friday, both teams battled Schreiner University. After a sluggish first half for the men’s team, UMHB stepped up their game in the second half and tied it in a double overtime. This was difficult for the team as they had to play with a man down when one of the players got red-carded. The women’s team dominated Schreiner in their game with a score of 2-1.
On Saturday, the team to beat was Texas Lutheran University. These two games would determine who would clinch a spot in the ASC tournament.
The men’s soccer team fought back from an early deficit with four straight goals and the Cru held on for a 4-2 victory. The women’s soccer team took control of their match early and the Cru rolled to a 4-1 victory. However, the match ended the season for them after the UMHB women fell a half-game short of qualifying for the ASC Championship Tournament.
The UMHB men will now advance to the ASC tournament next weekend, Nov. 5-7 in Tyler. The Cru will face Howard Payne University in the quarterfinals on Friday at 11 a.m.