Club soccer team breaks past record by advancing to regionals

The St. Edward’s University men’s club soccer team can now be counted among the record-breaking teams on campus after advancing to the 2012 Region IV South Tournament, a part of the 2012 NIRSA NCCS National Soccer Championships. Their tournament bid was based on their success in the Lone Star South Conference of the Texas Collegiate Soccer League. 

The team was undefeated in their conference and played games in the tournament on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27. Though the team lost both tournament games, the team captain, coaches and players are all pleased with the season’s results and hope to build on this year’s success.

The team played their first game of the tournament against the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners. The Hilltoppers dominated the first 15 minutes of the game, but the Roadrunners scored the game’s sole point off of a cross. Sophomore goalkeeper Michael Murad called that he had the ball, but the wind carried it into the net at an awkward angle.

“I saw Mike’s face, and I felt the wind. And then I saw the ball go in,” Sophomore and Team President Eduardo Maradiaga said. “You never expect that the wind is going to move the ball that way, and it sucked. It went against us.”

Freshman forward Jamie Hunt had high expectations for attacking the Roadrunners. 

“We didn’t produce offensively,” Hunt said. “We would get the ball and almost completely give it away.” 

The combination of wind, temperature and lack of transition from defense to offense resulted in a 1-0 win for the Roadrunner.

The second tournament game took place early the following morning. The Hilltoppers fell to Texas Christian University, TCU, 2-0. According to Maradiaga, even though TCU scored two goals immediately, the Hilltoppers controlled the game after that point. He also said that the Hilltoppers played better than usual, which made the loss all the more frustrating. TCU ended up advancing to nationals.

“[TCU] wasn’t that good. We had a couple of mistakes, and they capitalized on them,” Hunt said. 

According to Maradiaga, the cold weather was a huge detriment to the Hilltoppers’ game. 

“It was awful outside. I think we were caught off guard by the cold. We completely forgot about the game. We could see that they wanted to win, and we wanted to stay warm,” Maradiaga said.

The young club president has high hopes for building on this year’s successes, and has found the silver lining in the team’s losses at regionals.

“We are so happy. It doesn’t really matter how we did, but we are so happy that we actually won our conference. It really shows that we committed to our practice,” Maradiaga said.

The team is currently coached by two ex-players, including the team’s founder and St. Edward’s alumnus Daniel Lafuente.

“Since players … can basically leave without risking anything like a scholarship, it makes it difficult to get players to continue playing through an entire season … It is a big step towards getting more players with great soccer experience and skill to want to join the team,” Lafuente said.

Club sports teams often find themselves at a disadvantage, as St. Edward’s is substantially smaller than most of the schools that have a larger student body from which to recruit. With a young team that hosts 14 underclassmen, Maradiaga is looking to pick up steam and preserve Lafuente’s legacy.

“If we can see we reached regionals, now we are going to win regionals,” Maradiaga said.