With a 5-0 victory over Texas Lutheran University and a 1-0 victory over Colorado College, the Trinity University men’s soccer team completed their ascension to win the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament championship for the fourth year in a row.
The team’s 19-2 record ranks the men’s soccer team as second in the nation in men’s Division III soccer. The team had a tough two-game stretch where they lost back-to-back conference games, which the team had not done for quite a while, according to the head coach Paul McGinlay.
“It was a bit of a knock to our confidence,” McGinlay said. “But we regrouped as a team and we just pressed the reset button.”
The second loss was to a familiar opponent, Colorado College, who the team expects to be a tough test from each year.
“Playing Colorado College has always been a challenge,” said senior forward Derrick Horvath. “But it was very satisfying getting to beat them the last two times we played them.”
Horvath also mentioned that since the team came back from those back-to-back defeats, they have grown closer both on and off the field, which he believes helped them improve a grow as a team.
Senior defender Tom Carwile reiterated Horvath’s earlier statements that the team reveled in the fact that they were able to make up for the their prior loss.
“It felt great making up the loss from earlier in the season, especially in the SCAC final,” Carwile said. “We had a lot of motivation to go back up to Colorado and show them how we can really play and avenge that loss from earlier in the season.”
The team was successful in avenging the second regular season loss with a narrow 1-0 victory, with the goal coming on a penalty kick in the 25th minute.
Carwile, one of the captains of the team, took the penalty kick for the Tigers and buried it in the back of the net.
“It’s high pressure to score a penalty under any conditions,” McGinlay said. “But in a championship game away from home to put us one-nil up, obviously it ended up defining the game. It’s great to have that kind of senior leadership.”
Carwile, along with Horvath, were two of the six players on the men’s team to be named to the All-SCAC tournament team. Carwile and Horvath each took home additional honors being nominated as the defensive most valuable player (MVP) and the offensive MVP respectively, yet they both made it known that their achievements would not have been possible without the teammates they have around them.
“Without the support of my teammates around me and their great play, it would not be possible to get these types of awards,” Carwile said. “Our defense has been great all year, and I guess because I am a senior captain, I get a lot of recognition for that, but it really is a team award in my eyes.”
Horvath echoed Carwile’s statements that it took a team effort to be crowned SCAC champions.
“It’s a great honor to have been named the offensive MVP of the SCAC tournament with all the talented players who have had great seasons,” Horvath said. “It’s a shame they only have two awards to honor individual players because there are plenty of guys, especially (senior midfielder) Brad Carabajal, who had great tournaments and who we couldn’t have won the tournament without.”
The entire team contributed in the victory, but Horvath and Carwile were among those directly responsible for the game-changing goal, with Horvath winning the penalty kick for his team and Carwile knocking in the eventual game winning goal off of the penalty kick. With the game on the line, a team often looks to one of the leaders of the team to step up and change the game in their favor, which Carwile was very gracious and appreciative that he had the opportunity to do so.
“It was special to step up and make the penalty kick in Colorado in front of all of those fans. It is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life,” Carwile said. “But honestly, I have the trust in any player on our team to step up and make that penalty kick. [Horvath] did a great job of winning the penalty, and I had the honor to take it, but I know he would have slotted it home if he would have taken it as well.”
Carwile also mentioned that he felt comforted by that fact that his teammates trust him to take the high pressure kicks, especially when the game is on the line. One fact that helps the team trust Carwile in high pressure situations is that of the nine goals that Carwile has scored this season, seven of them have been the eventual game-winner. The Tigers will look to Carwile and to each other to step up their performance once again in their first match of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament this Saturday at 11 a.m at the Paul McGinlay soccer field at Trinity University against the University of Texas-Dallas.