Few people could have predicted that the St. Edward’s University men’s soccer team would go on an eight game winning streak after such a sluggish start to the season.
After a disappointing 0-1-1 start, the Hilltoppers have gone unbeaten and dominated in eight straight games, shutting out their opponents in four of those games. Goalie John Kaschak has won a second consecutive Heartland Conference Player of the Week Award and the offensive has been on fire too, outscoring their opponents 26-5 over the current winning streak.
With an overall record of 8-1-1 and a perfect 4-0 mark in Heartland Conference play, the Hilltoppers are ranked No. 7 in the country by the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) poll, the highest ranking in program history. In addition, the men are also ranked No. 1 in the South Central Region.
Head coach Brian Young credits the turnaround to his team’s work ethic and time spent with each other out on the road.
“It is consistency and hard work, these guys have worked hard from the summer to preseason,” Young said. “[Our] road trips have also helped us with our chemistry. The time spent together improves us every day and winning certainly helps as well.”
Last season, the team started with a 1-3-1 record but caught fire and ended the season on a 13-game unbeaten streak. With this experience under their belt, the Hilltoppers appear well equipped to extend this year’s unbeaten run and maintain momentum.
On Monday, Oct. 7, the “Fill the Hill” game took place in front of over 150 cheering students, who watched the Hilltoppers shut out Dallas Baptist University 2-0. Energized by the home crowd, the men broke a 0-0 deadlock in the 66th minute and never looked back.
During the game, a DBU player committed a hard foul near the touchline. The player received a red card and was immediately removed from the game.
“It was just unfortunate,” Young said of the incident. “There is no place for that in the game of college soccer.”
While Young wants his team to play with passion and intensity, he also demands they behave like gentlemen out on the pitch, to avoid these kinds of bookings. With a cool and collected squad riding on an eight-game unbeaten run, Young is hopeful that his tenth season as head coach will be his best yet.
“It would be great if we could end the year on a positive note with a Heartland Conference Championship and NCAA bid,” Young said.
The men hope to continue their hot streak with their first home game in nearly two weeks this upcoming Saturday against Midwestern State University at 1pm.