Last weekend the Trinity men’s soccer team traveled to Georgetown for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Championship. Trinity defeated Texas Lutheran University in the semifinals on Saturday to advance to the finals on Sunday against Southwestern University, who defeated Colorado College (Colo.) 2-1 the previous night to earn the finals spot. Trinity is now 18-2-1 for the season and has earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Trinity defeated Texas Lutheran 3-0. All three goals were scored in the first half of the game. Sophomore midfielder Victor Araujo scored on a penalty kick in the 10th minute. Junior forward Johnny Lawson scored next for the Tigers, his 14th goal of the season, on an assist from first-year defender Zac Treu. First-year midfielder Todd Edwards scored the Tigers’ last goal in the final seconds of the first half on a rebound off of senior defender Ben Anderson’s shot on goal.
“It’s good to take care of the game in the early going so that there’s not as much pressure moving forward, and the fact that we had a 3-0 lead at halftime enabled us to rest certain key players for the second half. The game in general was not as demanding for the players who were on the field, so strategically that was what our goal had been. We set out hoping to jump out on TLU early and put them out of the game so that we were as fresh as possible going into the finals. We were really pleased that we did that,” said assistant coach Edward Cartee. “I think we should have gotten more than three goals, but if you keep a shutout then you only need one. We took care of business and moved on to Sunday; it was a good job from the team.”
On Sunday, the Tigers faced off against Southwestern in the finals, defeating them 1-0. Trinity beat Southwestern 2-0 last year in the championship game to move on to the national tournament. This year, the Tigers’ only goal was scored in the first two minutes of the game by junior midfielder Simon Uribe on an assist from Yuri Ribeiro. Ribeiro now has 14 assists for the season. The game was a dogfight; both teams played physically and aggressively. Senior forward Brian Hines received a red card in the second half, a contested call, causing the Tigers to play down a man; however, the Trinity defense held tight to keep the advantage. Hines will be prohibited from play in the Tigers’ next game due to the card.
“I thought we responded really well to the adversity we faced, especially going a man down, we really held together as a team. This year we have a much deeper team; we can go into our bench and take any player off the field and put another one in who is just as good,” said junior defender Zac Coplen.
Junior goalkeeper Matt Cardone had one save in the game. Southwestern goalkeeper Daniel Poole had seven saves in the game, earning Tournament Defensive MVP. Araujo earned Tournament Offensive MVP.
With the wins, Trinity advances to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. The Tigers will play Cal Lutheran at 5 p.m. If they win, they will play the winner of the Puget Sound v. Hardin Simmons match at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Both games will played at McGinlay Field.
“I think we’ll be able to advance further in the tournament because we’re a lot closer as a team this year; we’re more of a collective team. Everyone wants the team to win, instead of individuals wanting to win. We don’t take any games lightly. We’re always focusing on one game at a time and not thinking too far ahead. We always try to minimize our mistakes because we feel like we’re a really good team, so we never really get beaten by other teams, we just get beaten by ourselves,” Hines said.