The men’s soccer team is ready to get back on the field. Last season, the Crusaders went 11-4-3 overall and 10-3 in conference play.
The group is coming off a heartbreaking penalty kick defeat to UT-Tyler in last year’s semifinal round of the American Southwest Conference tournament, and is determined that this is the year to bring home the ASC Championship title.
Head men’s soccer Coach, Brad Bankhead, has prepared his team, and players are ready for the games to begin.
“Number one, we want to go from good to great,” he said. “We feel we have been good these past seasons, but we are tired of just being good. Good isn’t good enough. We want to be great. We want to have a great season, host conference, win the conference championship and then make a push as a national contender.”
Bankhead has already started the preparation by arranging to play tough teams throughout preseason.
“We scheduled a pretty tough non-conference schedule in order to prepare us for the brutal conference season. We are not split east and west like other sports. We play everybody, and there are at least 10 teams who have a legitimate shot of getting one of the six spots for the playoffs,” Bankhead said.
“We have to make sure we have to win these games, so we scheduled these teams as they are difficult and will prepare us for the important games to come.”
The team also will depend on its strengths this season. Junior computer science major Scott Poole talks about the overall chemistry and work ethic.
“Our team’s strengths are the unity and chemistry that we’ve built and our work rate we put out in games. Even though we may not be the best soccer team, per se, we can still get the job done because we put it all out on the line for each other,” Poole said.
He also speaks about their alliance as another strength.
“The team’s relationship is awesome. None of us really think of ourselves as a team but more as a family. We have an extremely good group of guys this year, and I feel as if I can call each of them a brother,” Poole said.
With the addition of the lights to the Crusader Soccer field, the team will now have many night games throughout the season.
Junior pre-physical therapy major Michael Teague said they will be able to use the lights to their advantage.
“The lights are going to add a better atmosphere to the game. Not only does it make the game more intense, but it will also allow more fans to come watch because it will not be as hot,” Teague said.
The team has already begun its non-conference play and split the first two games of the season. The Cru defeated Austin College in a 5-0 shutout, scoring all five goals in the second half.
The men have two more non-conference matches this week. They were on the road playing Texas A&M University this past weekend and came away with a 2-1 victory. The next game will be tonight in Georgetown against Southwestern University.
The Crusaders will start conference play Sept. 14 on the road against the Bulldogs of Texas Lutheran.