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Soccer teams win championships, heading to national tournaments

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The men’s and women’s soccer teams are heading for the NCAA National Tournament.

The men’s team drew a No. 1 seed in Super Region four, earning a first and second round bye and hosting the winner of Colorado Mesa University and Midwestern State University in the third round. The women drew a No. 4 seed in the South Central Region and will play conference rival Dallas Baptist University on Nov. 14, in Colorado. The winner will advance to play No.1 Colorado School of Mines on Nov. 16.

Nick Cowell, head coach of the women’s soccer team, is excited to be in the playoffs.

“I am proud of the team rising to the number four seed in the region,” he said. “I am excited to play Dallas Baptist University again. They are a formidable opponent and they bring out the best in our competitive spirit.”

Despite set backs and injuries throughout the season, they were able to finish the regular Heartland Conference season undefeated.

This enabled them to host the Conference tournament at the Lewis-Chen Family Field 

and go on to claim their third Heartland Conference Regular Season Championship title.

On Nov. 6 the women’s soccer team hosted the semi-final round against the Rattlers of St. Mary’s University in an extended rematch of the Battle of the Saints.

The game went overtime with the Hilltoppers finally claiming victory. A corner kick deflected off a St. Mary’s defender and found Katie Donahue on the far side. She struck the ball first time to the far post finding the back of the net.   

On Nov. 8, St. Edward’s took on No. 2 seed Dallas Baptist University for the conference championship. The game was yet again determined in overtime.

In the ninety-eighth minute, sophomore defender Julia Harrison played a through ball into the far right corner. Lauren Heller used her speed and kept the ball in play. She got past a Patriots defender and crossed the ball into the box. The cross would find the head of freshman Whytneigh Duffie who sent her header flying into the goal, and sent her team mates sprinting onto the field to celebrate once again.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game, but I had confidence in our team and I knew we could win,” Duffie said.

After the championship game concluded and the trophy presented, the Hilltoppers learned that they had four representatives on the Heartland Conference All-Tournament team: Lauren Heller, Whytneigh Duffie, Megan Anderson, and Julia Harrison. Harrison would also be named the tournament’s most valuable player.

The men’s soccer team recorded the first undefeated regular season in Heartland conference history led by the 2014 Heartland Conference Player of the Year, senior midfielder and co-captain, Andrew Fox. Also, the 2014 Heartland Conference Defensive Player of the Year, senior defender and co-captain, Coleton Stymiest. 

On Nov. 7, the men’s soccer team played at home in the first round of the Heartland Conference Tournament against Texas A&M International University.

After a physical game St. Edward’s was able to pull out the victory, 1-0, sending them to the conference final.

On Nov. 9, the men’s team was eager for the championship trophy against the Newman University Jets. And that’s exactly what they did. When the final whistle was blown, the Hilltoppers had cruised to victory.

With a Gatorade shower for Head Coach Brian Young and “Sweet Caroline” playing aloud, the men’s soccer team celebrated its first Heartland Conference Tournament Championship in school history and first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999.

“I am happy for all the players for making the NCAA tournament,” Young said. “They worked so hard over the summer, preseason and throughout the season to be awarded an at large bid and ultimately the No. 1 seed.” 

The men are now focusing their attention to their upcoming playoff game.

“Since the summer, the team has been training with the coaches. We’ve been preparing…and the rewards are definitely showing with this championship win,” midfielder Steve Aoudou said.

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Soccer teams win championships, heading to national tournaments