Men’s Soccer wins Heartland Conference Championship, playoff bound

Junior+midfielder+Jack+Blanton+scored+the+winning+goal+on+a+penalty+kick+against+Texas+A%26amp%3BM-International+University+in+extra+time+on+Nov.+7.
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Men’s Soccer wins Heartland Conference Championship, playoff bound

Junior midfielder Jack Blanton scored the winning goal on a penalty kick against Texas A&M-International University in extra time on Nov. 7.

Junior midfielder Jack Blanton scored the winning goal on a penalty kick against Texas A&M-International University in extra time on Nov. 7.

Junior midfielder Jack Blanton scored the winning goal on a penalty kick against Texas A&M-International University in extra time on Nov. 7.

Junior midfielder Jack Blanton scored the winning goal on a penalty kick against Texas A&M-International University in extra time on Nov. 7.

Amanda Gonzalez

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The St. Edward’s University men’s soccer team has been selected as the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Division II South Central regional rankings.

Clinching their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the Div. II Selection Committee decided that St. Edward’s will play against No. 2 Colorado School of Mines on Nov. 14 at 12 p.m. in the secondary round.

“I think the Committee got is right. Mines is undefeated this year, and certainly they deserve to host the game,” Head Coach Brian Young said. “Colorado Mines is a hardworking and organized team, so we’ll expect a lot more energy from them.”

St. Edward’s has a 14-2-2 record and Mines is 16-0-3.

On Sept. 13, St. Edward’s played away against Mines on rarely humid 95-degrees day and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

This time, “the temperature should be a lot cooler, so the game should be played at a quicker pace,” Young said.

At the recent Heartland Conference Championship Tournament, No. 1 St. Edward’s hosted and won against No. 3 A&M-International with a final score of 1-0 on Nov. 7.

Although St. Edward’s outshot rival A&M-International 17-8, the single goal of the game came in extra time on a penalty kick from junior midfielder Jack Blanton in the 102nd minute.

Both teams played an exhaustingly long game that went into double overtime and reached combination of 35 fouls, 19 of which were on A&M-International.

In the 75th minute, A&M-International was left a player short for the rest of the game after a player received his second yellow card and was ejected. However, the Dustdevils’ biggest scoring opportunity came in the 83rd minute when forward Ryan Hodgson passed SEU senior goalkeeper Kevin Leib and took a wide shot that was narrowly kicked away by SEU sophomore defender Owain Hoskins.

Hoskins’ save is a prime example as to why the HC named him the HC Defensive Player of the Year. Other conference-recognized awards included Freshman of the Year Dylan Armstrong, Player of the Year Josh Taylor, as well as the fourth-consecutive Coach of the Year title for Young.

In the final minutes of the game, both teams unsuccessfully scrambled for a goal. In the first and second overtimes, multiple Hilltopper and Dustdevil shots would also be blocked.

“Josh made a great move, and [A&M-International] fouled him in the box. I was just lucky enough to be the guy to step up and take the penalty. We practiced it several times [last] week, so I was just ready for it. It came, and it was a good victory for us and I’m proud we won,” Blanton said, as he was named the Heartland Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player.

“My team has a great heart and great perseverance … also a great fight and a great mentality to go out and win the game,” Blanton said. “Moving forward, this gives us more of a jolt. We’re excited to go play and win the next round … We’ve got to prepare and we’ll be ready for it.”