The team took home the title for the first time in four years and are heading to the NCAA Division Championships
The UTD men’s soccer team came back from a season of mixed performance, securing their spot in the NCAA national tournament after winning the ASC conference championship on Nov. 4 in a narrow 6-5 win against long-time rival Concordia.
The men’s soccer team claimed their sixth ASC title, their first in four years, after powering through a mixed bag of wins and losses through the season. Coach Jason Hirsch said that this season had its share of ups and downs, but he trusted that his team could run right through the adversity into a streak of incredible victories; UTD accumulated wins against Ozarks, McMurry and Hardin-Baylor. Finance junior Riley O’Donnell was named ASC Offensive Player of the Year as well as All-Conference First Team along with finance senior Kayson Marriott. O’Donnell scored six goals and four assists, while Marriott recorded a goal and an assist.
“We were right there competing in every single game,” Hirsch said. “[We] have to be able to take the loss on the chin and move on. You take the success and build from there and try to springboard to more success.”
The team began the season with a streak of losses and ties in five close games against nationally-ranked teams. Marriott said that losing close games hurt the team mentally, but he knew they would not give up easily. After the Comets’ first win on Sept. 17 against Colorado College, everything started to click, and the team enjoyed a six-game winning streak from then to Oct. 12.
“You can take different steps to turn your season around,” Marriott said. “[Our freshmen] get to experience how it feels winning now. How to go from the lowest of lows in a season to the highest of highs.”
This streak propelled them into the conference tournament, leading to wins against Ozarks, McMurry and Hardin-Baylor. Accounting junior Michael Hesse said the wins were a huge moral boost for the team, and they were confident that they would not get defeated on their home turf on game day.
“This is the goal of the year,” Hesse said. “Our confidence at home was through the roof … We beat Ozarks 5–1, which is a huge game for us.”
The season is ending, but it is not over yet for the Comets. They still have the NCAA Division III championships in January, where they will play at Trinity. The team is confident going into this tournament, and team spirit has never been higher.
“I feel so proud of these guys, and I am so happy for them,” Hirsch said. “They wanted this so bad. For them to finally get over that hump and win it … I am so happy for these guys, and proud of what they did, and they should be proud. They played well these last few games and deserve it.”