Playing in front of a packed crowd on a cold and misty evening, the men’s soccer team took down Pomona-Pitzer 2-0 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, earning it’s first ever win in the national playoff.
The Comets were relentless but unsuccessful in scoring in the first half, taking 8 shots and 3 corner kicks during the period, none of which managed to enter the net. After coming back for the second half, however, it did not take long for UTD to find its mark. Freshman forward Danny Meyer hit in a goal off of a corner kick in the 63rd minute, his fourth score of the season.
Meyer said he couldn’t believe that the ball went in.
“I was just trying to whip it in for one of the guys to get a head on it,” he said.
Head coach Jason Hirsch said he made adjustments at the half specifically to get the ball to Meyer.
“Danny was giving their right back a hard time,” he said. “Danny’s much faster than him, much stronger. He’s got the skills required to go around him. He was having success in the first half, so we made sure to try to keep feeding him the ball so he could keep having success in the second half.”
Meyer also set up the Comets only other score of the night when he floated the ball in to senior midfielder Julian Torres for a goal in 89th minute.
Sophomore goalkeeper Joseph Weber also played a crucial role in the contest, getting 3 saves, two of which came in the second half. He said he focused on controlling the ball despite the rainy weather.
“Conditions were slick today,” he said. “It’s wet. It’s cold out, so gloves are a bit wet and the ball is slippery. I just tried to focus on trying to get everything clean, taking everything to the ground and just making sure I had full control of (the ball) so they can’t get a rebound.”
On the defensive side of the ball, he said the Comets were able to keep the pressure on throughout the game.
After it’s loss last week in the ASC final to Hardin-Simmons, the team was feeling a bit down, but the team is feeling more enthusiastic now, Hirsch said.
“Coming off losing the conference championship game, the mood was a bit down. On Tuesday at practice the mood wasn’t quite what it usually is,” he said. “But as the week went on things got better and they’re excited.”
The team will play Trinity University, who took down Hardin-Simmons 2-1 in the second game of the doubleheader, in the next round of the NCAA tournament Sunday at 5 p.m.
Weber said the game will be tough, but the team has to be ready for it.
“We’re feeling like we’ve got nothing to lose,” he said. “We’re just going out there, giving it our all, whatever happens. We’re here to win.”
Additional reporting by Madison McCall