Following their first loss of the season and subsequent tumble from the No. 1 ranking in the country, no one would have blamed the Tigers for feeling sorry for themselves. Instead, the Tigers battled to win the SCAC championship, downing Colorado College in double overtime, and have a lot of energy heading into the playoffs.
The Tigers recently experienced their first regular season loss against Texas Lutheran University, losing 3-2 with a goal scored by TLU in the 74th minute. While the loss was undeniably hard on the team, they refused to let it get them down, and used it as an opportunity to improve.
“After the loss, we openly talked about the reason for failure and how to move forward. Meetings were conducted between players and coaches so we could move forward. We were down at first, but now we are using the loss to motivate us and move us forward this year,” said sophomore midfielder Laurence Wyke.
The team’s national ranking took a shot as well, knocking them from tops in the nation to No. 3. The team responded by coming back strong in the remainder of the SCAC tournament, and instead of getting upset, looked in the mirror to see what they could improve on as a team.
“Our biggest obstacle is ourselves. Coach McGinlay always says that it is our fault something happens, whether that be us winning or us losing. We have to minimize our little mistakes so they don’t compound into something bigger,” said senior defender Zachary Treu.
This past Sunday the team won a hard-fought match against long-time rivals Colorado College. The game went into double overtime, and the team came away with a narrow 2-1 win. It was in the 103rd minute that Brady Johnston scored the game winning point, relieving the team’s stress. Despite the long game, the Tigers fought hard and never gave up, which ultimately contributed to their win.
“The team never lost hope even with two minutes to go. We knew that a goal was going to come throughout the game and the effort paid off. Scoring in the 89th minute gave us the confidence to go on and win the game. It was a great team performance, sticking together and fighting together,” Wyke said.
Looking forward, the Tigers are hosting the first and second round of the NCAA playoff games this weekend. The team will start playing Whitworth University at 5 p.m. on Saturday evening, which marks the beginning of a long-awaited post season. Despite the struggles the team has faced these past few weeks, they remain hopeful and positive, hungry for a National Championship title.
“Our primary goal in mind is to win a National Championship in December. In order to do so, we must focus our attention one game at a time, not taking any game for granted. We need to play each 90 minute game with a “˜furious devotion’ to win as Coach McGinlay would say,” said junior midfielder Cooper Fyfe.
Regular season success has been a staple for the men’s soccer team for years, and the team wants this to be the year that success translates into a national championship.