In the cold Dallas weather last Saturday evening, the men’s soccer team played against Division I Southern Methodist University in a close battle that ended in a 2-1 victory.
“This win means a lot. It’s a big confidence booster that makes us realize the potential of this program,” said junior forward Brian Hines.
This is the second year Trinity has played SMU. Last year the game ended in a 2-2 tie on our home field. The team traveled to Dallas this year, in hopes of getting a win on SMU’s home turf.
“SMU is the big Division I school in Texas, and they went to the national tournament this year. Beating them on their field shows what kind of quality we have in our team, and how good we are as a program,” said junior midfielder Darren McAfee. “I think a lot of us get annoyed with the stigma that division one sports are so much superior to those in Division III. We know here at Trinity that isn’t the case. We take a lot of pride in being able to compete with any team in the country, so any time we get the opportunity to test ourselves against quality teams like SMU, we all get excited.”
The game started off with a quick pace as SMU was still on a high from their recent tie against MLS team, the Houston Dynamo. Even with the difficulty of the pace set at the beginning, the only score in the first half came from a penalty kick that SMU received early on.
“Even though we were down at halftime, there was no sense of defeat at all. They had scored on a penalty kick from a counter attack, and I don’t think anybody on the team was second guessing our ability to play with them,” McAfee said. “The first thing coach McGinlay said to us was that there were no more secrets: they knew what we were and we knew what they were. After the first half, it was clear that they were not better than us. It gave us confidence, and we came out strong in the second half.”
Trinity came out strong in the second half with the confidence to take the win. The first goal in that half came from sophomore forward Johnny Lawson early on.
“In the second half we came out and really took the game to SMU,” said assistant coach Thomas Cartee. “We scored two very good goals. On the first one, Johnny Lawson brought the ball down in the box with his chest and took an extra touch before finishing, which showed wonderful composure in front of the goal.”
The second and last goal was scored from a penalty shot taken by junior forward Yuri Ribeiro after a defender fouled Hines in the box.
“One of the midfielders hit it to me. I touched it by the defender and was on a breakaway as I entered the box. I was faster than all their defenders and so he had to foul me. As I went to shoot, I was tackled from behind,” Hines said. “As soon as the ref blew the whistle for the foul, I immediately knew Yuri was going to put it in the back of the net as he has done so many times in the past.”
Even after the win, the men do not plan to ease up as they continually look to improve during their spring practices in preparation for next season.
“We have worked very hard this spring to improve, and this shows that everything we’re doing is paying off. The boys deserved the reward and I’m glad they got it,” Cartee said. “Now it is important that the high speed of play and impressive level of play which our team demonstrated Saturday night versus SMU, are present every single day in training, both for the rest of the spring and then in the fall, and also that in every game this fall, regardless of the level of our opponent, we play at that speed and that level consistently.”
Expectations are high for next season after a win against such a highly regarded team.
“Beating SMU was a sign of what hard work can help us achieve so we are looking to carry this work ethic through the summer and into the next season,” McAfee said. “Our expectations for next year remain unchanged. We have the same goal to win the national championship every year. This win just showed that the goal is still attainable.”