Explosive offense key for men’s soccer, sits third in conference play


Juan Diaz

Matthew Parker is one of the captains of the soccer team. His physical play has been crucial for the team’s winning conference record.

Adjusting to their new home in the Lone Star Conference hasn’t been much of a challenge for the St. Edward’s University men’s soccer team. In conference, the team is ranked No. 3 and holds a respectable 5-1-2 record. Steamrolling their competition in their last few games, the Hilltoppers have outscored opponents 11-1.

Noticing the team’s recent scorching scoring and lockdown defense, senior captain Daniel Wakeham says that scoring early on is a confidence booster for the team and sets the tone for what should follow.

“The main thing has been the early goals, really. We scored, I think, in the first 10 minutes twice in both of those games. I think that really helps get off to the front foot and then we just build from there,” Wakeham said.

The team’s ability to score early and often has been reassuring of the skills that comprise the program’s competitive nature. This wasn’t always the case; earlier in the season, the team struggled to gather consistent wins and goals.

Senior Matthew Parker says the ball movement and an eagerness to secure the highest conference ranking is what keeps the team hungry.

“Moving the ball quickly and giving the other team limited possession has been key to our success,” Parker said. “We, as a team, are constantly looking up the conference standings and are focused on chasing down the teams above us.”

The team’s head coach Brian Young says that Wakeham’s leadership, along with the team’s chemistry, has allowed for the team’s success thus far. The newly inducted Heartland Conference Hall of Fame coach says that they are in a good position to accomplish the goals they set out for themselves prior to the season; it’s just a matter of making it happen.

“Our goal in the beginning of the season was to make the NCAA tournament and, at this point, we still have a chance to achieve this goal with three games left,” Young said. “When you have your No. 1 goal still achievable the motivation, in my opinion, is showing up every day from the players and staff in training, film and team meetings. … We hope to get more points in our next three matches to take us a few steps closer to qualifying for the Lone Star Conference Tournament and a shot at the NCAA Tournament.”

Sitting in the third spot in a competitive, brand new conference is something that takes lots of determination and execution. Young credits his diligent athletes as well as the coaching staff around him for the winning conference record and the team’s blazing offensive starts.

“The team has put a lot of work to get into the position they are in now,” he said. “I credit the senior class and all the hard work Corey Miller and the staff has done to not change course while being consistent in our training, coaching and game preparation from pre-season to what we are doing now late in the season.”

The team is preparing for their road matches with Midwestern State and Oklahoma Christian on Nov. 7 and Nov. 9 respectively.