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UMHB men’s soccer advances to ASC Championship Game with 5-1 win

Above photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru/

AUSTIN, Texas- Last Saturday afternoon, the UMHB men’s soccer dropped its regular season finale to Concordia, 5-1, and in the process, the streak of 18 straight ASC matches without a loss was snapped as well. 

Early on Thursday afternoon on the campus of St. Edward’s University at the ASC Tournament, the same score was seen as the final horn sounded on UMHB’s match against No. 4 seed UT-Dallas. Only this time, the Crusaders were the ones victorious. 

“If anything, I think it helped us refocus,” UMHB head coach Ben Allen said of the Concordia loss.

The semifinal win for the top-seeded Crusaders puts Allen’s team into the ASC Championship match on Saturday at 3 p.m., with the winner set to advance to the NCAA Tournament. UMHB will face LeTourneau, who beat Concordia on penalty kicks, 5-4, late on Thursday afternoon. 

How it happened

A quick start was key in the Cru’s success, as it has been for most of this season. Patrick Roach scored in the game’s 14th minute for a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick, but that advantage was extended a minute later on Karsen Macias’ goal, which came on an assist from Roach. 

“When you go up early, you have confidence and momentum,” Allen said. “We had already beaten UTD in conference play. It’s a huge momentum shift. For us, not chasing the game early and still being able to go up has been massive for us.”

Roach was also involved in the third goal of the day, when he provided the assist to Ethan Dacaret, who tallied his first career ASC tournament goal in the 30th minute of the match. As Roach raced towards the goal, UTD goalkeeper Michael Hesse focused his attention on the UMHB forward, not seeing Dacaret, who received the well-placed pass from Roach and fired into an empty net. 

With that 3-0 lead intact, both teams headed to halftime, and when play resumed, the Cru’s stellar performance followed. Dacaret scored yet again, at the 57:39 mark, and Francisco Maldonado provided the fifth goal of the day when he sprinted 40 yards upfield before providing the statement score in the 78th minute. 

UTD avoided a shutout, with Brandon Buchanan’s score in the 73rd minute, but it did little to slow the Cru’s momentum. 

Notable Numbers

Interestingly, despite the lopsided score, UMHB had just two more shots on goal, with 12, as compared to the Comets’ 10, and actually had one less shot than UTD. Yet, the Cru made the most of their scoring chances, and were especially good in UTD territory, retaining possession on a number of occasions, despite the play of UTD’s defenders. 

Stat Leaders

Dacaret was the lone Crusader with multiple goals, though Roach also contributed in a big way with his goal and two assists. Maldonado led the visitors from Belton in shots (5) and shots on goal (4). Nick Villanueva also contributed four shots, two of which were on goal. Goalkeeper Dalton Lloyd was exceptional against the UTD attack, with eight saves and just one goal allowed in a full 90 minutes of action. 

“Both Patrick [Roach] and Nick [Villanueva] played in our last conference tournament final back in 2018,” Allen noted. “They know what it takes. They’ve been instrumental in having the focus and leadership and experience of being there.”

Up Next

UMHB battles NO. 6 seed LeTourneau at 3 p.m. Saturday. In UMHB’s first ASC match of the year, they tied LETU 0-0 in Longview.

“LeTourneau earned every bit of [the win over Concordia today],” Allen said. “We have that mentality going into LeTourneau. Who cares if it’s the No. 1 seed vs the No. 6 seed? Anyone can beat anyone in our league.”

Editor’s Note: This article will be updated as quotes and other information become available.

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