The Tiger soccer team recorded a clean-sheet victory against the University of Dallas, closing out with a 3–0 win. With this victory, the team improved their season record to 12–1–1 and 10–1–0 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) play.
Three weeks prior, the team suffered their first loss of the entire season against the Dallas Crusaders, falling by a score of 2–1. Sunday’s game presented a significant opportunity of redemption for the Tigers.
Sophomore Jacob Hallenberger recalls that the results of the first Dallas game served as a significant source of motivation in the rematch.
“We didn’t perform at our usual level, so the loss definitely didn’t sit right with us. The Dallas team celebrated a little dramatically when they won, so it was great to beat them convincingly the second time around,” said Hallenberger.
His teammate, Andrea Codispoti echoes this opinion.
“When we lost the first Dallas game, we had to take a serious look at ourselves. After long debates and heated arguments, we all agreed that the game was nothing more than a mishap. We weren’t playing our true level that day. Going into this game, we wanted to prove a point, not only to the Dallas team and all the other teams in the country, but to ourselves,” Codispoti said.
The team accomplished this plan with a confidence boosting header by junior Brady Johnston only 39 seconds before halftime.
“In all honesty, after 45 minutes of playing in the heat, I was very tired. When the free kick occurred near the halfway line, coach McGinlay motivated me to push forward and use my presence in the air for a final chance. Diego Gonzalez played a peach of a ball into the penalty area, and I jumped up in the midst of a bunch of defenders. I was able to head the ball above the goalkeeper. It was a great feeling to get the goal to break the deadlock,” Johnston said.
In the final half of play, junior Roman Cano scored from the left side of the net to secure the second goal of the game for the Tigers. With his impressive consistency, Cano earned Player of the Week honors for the second occasion this season. Codispoti scored in the last half of the game, bringing the Trinity team to a 3–0 lead.
“In the moment, my instincts took over, and the play developed naturally. All I knew was that I wanted to go straight to goal when I picked up the ball. Afterwards, we felt relieved because we knew it was unlikely that Dallas could come back from three goals with only 20 minutes left in the game,” Codispoti said.
For the impressive play he has provided this season, Codispoti has received numerous accolades, including a nomination as the United Soccer Coaches National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Men’s Player of the Week, and SCAC Men’s Offensive Player of the Week. Codispoti gives the credit of these awards to his teammates, not himself.
“I think part of the reason that I was nominated for these titles is because I am a forward. That position typically gets all the attention because they usually score the actual goals. I had a good series of games that weekend and ended up winning the awards, but I could argue that the defenders and midfielders on my team deserved it for these past couple of weeks. I would not have scored those goals if my teammates were not providing me with quality passes, so credit should go to them as well,” Codispoti said.
First-year Jacob Hallenberger was also nominated for SCAC Offensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance in the games against the Texas Lutheran and Dallas teams.
“Awards are always nice to earn, but I think they’re more representative of my team’s effort than my personal play. It takes the work of all 39 guys, so although it’s great to be recognized, I give so much credit to my teammates,” Hallenberger said.
Looking ahead to the postseason, the Tigers are setting their sights high.
“This year, our team’s goal is to win a National Championship. We believe we can achieve this if we all perform at our full capabilities, day in and day out. I think we especially believe this goal after the tie against Chicago earlier in the season, when we were a new team and still had things to fix and figure out. We have grown since then, and we still believe we have more room to grow,” Codispoti said.
Similarly, Hallenberger hopes that the team will continue to improve as the season progresses.
“Obviously we want to advance as far in the NCAA tournament as possible, so the ultimate goal is to win the National Championship. Other than that, we really just try to take everything one day at a time by consistently working hard in practices and putting maximum effort into competition,” Hallenberger said.
Next up, the Tigers will take on Schreiner in the second to last home game of the season on Friday, Oct. 19.