Battle of the Saints marks annual contest between schools

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St. Edward’s University hosted the third annual Battle of the Saints soccer game at the Lewis-Chen Family Field. On Oct. 25, the men’s and women’s soccer teams played against the St. Mary’s University Rattlers. Though it has only existed for three years, the rivalry has been  a long-standing sentiment between the schools.

“To me, it has to do with school pride,” junior and center midfielder Keston Smith said. “The rivalry is something that is understood and ingrained in the team.”

According to the contract provided by the university’s marketing department,  “Battle of the Saints” is the “official moniker for all varsity men’s and women’s athletics competition between St. Edward’s University and St. Mary’s University.” Though the title is not trademarked, no other school in the country has given their games or events the same title.

The rivalry between the two universities is a competition across each school’s sports teams, meaning that Battle of the Saints is not solely a soccer, volleyball or basketball competition. The Battle of the Saints relies on a carefully constructed point system.

From the 24 contests played between St. Edward’s and St. Mary’s, a total of 11 points can be attained. If the universities are tied at 5.5 points, the school with the most conference championships in the sports where both teams are competing will win the competition, according to the contract.

After the conclusion of the contest, a trophy will be given to the winning school with their institution’s name and score engraved on it. The losing team has to pay for the engraving that year.

Though the Battle of the Saints games are a part of a larger point system, both soccer teams cherish the sense of pride that winning the games bring to the school.

“As a representative of the St. Edward’s women’s soccer team, it is our duty and obligation to bring that victory home,” senior and midfielder Olivia Collado said. “We want to show our sense of pride for the school by winning the rivalry game.”

Both men’s and women’s soccer meet for two contests, with each contest amounting to .5 points.

On Oct. 4, both the men’s and women’s soccer teams defeated the St. Mary’s Rattlers in San Antonio, Texas. The women’s team won 2-1 while the men’s team brought home a 3-0 victory. Both teams successfully gained .5 points for St. Edward’s.

Though both teams defeated the Rattlers, the second match-up between the teams affects their conference standing. If the women’s team wins their conference, they gain an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament; however, even if the men’s team wins the conference, they do not receive an automatic tournament bid.

“All the previous records go out the window,” freshman and defender Kyle Pujats said. “We are not playing the exact same game.”

Men’s Head Coach Brian Young agrees that the team did not expect a win because they previously defeated St. Mary’s. 

“The game takes on a different feel … It is more of an intense game,” Young said.

With both goals coming from sophomore midfielder Mikayla Engel, the lady Hilltoppers won 2-1. The men’s team defeated the Rattlers with a 3-0 win, with goals by sophomore forward Daniel Riley, sophomore midfielder Andrew Fox and freshman forward and midfielder Kyle Ruck, respectively.

Volleyball and both men’s and women’s basketball  teams will meet for two contests with .5 points available at each. The baseball and softball teams meet St. Mary’s three times, while both golf and tennis teams only meet once during their respective seasons.

“I think it definitely brings together the athletes, because every team has a Battle of the Saints game,” women’s Head Coach Nick Cowell said.

The women will compete in the Heartland Conference Tournament. The men’s team has to wait on the vote of an NCAA selection committee.