By Miles Montgomery
The Colorado College men’s club soccer team took a trip down south to participate in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Club Soccer National Championships in Round Rock, Texas, Nov. 21-23.
Despite an especially tough draw that pitted the Tigers against massive public schools in all three of their games, two of which were played in the scorching Texas heat, they gave every opponent a run for their money. Unfortunately, however, they left Round Rock winless.
The tournament did, nonetheless, provide invaluable match experience to the Tigers, who have a roster primarily composed of first-years and sophomores, accompanied by a solid core group of junior and senior leadership.
The first match saw the Tigers take on Virginia Tech University at 1:15 p.m. The heat favored the superior manpower of the Hokies, and they managed to defeat the Tigers by a score of 4-1, utilizing many of their substitute players, a luxury the undermanned Tigers simply did not have.
There was no respite in sight for the Tigers, however, as they rallied a mere seven hours later for their next game of the tournament: a nighttime kickoff against the University of Pennsylvania. The Tigers dropped the contest 2–0, but were encouraged by the improvement in the standard of play from the first game of the day.
The next day, they faced off against Louisiana State University in another midday kickoff, putting up a commendable effort, but eventually succumbing to the heat and depth of LSU, who eliminated the team from a potential berth in the knockout stages of the tournament.
“Overall, the team did a great job, and we exceeded our performance from last year’s national tournament”, said midfielder Jay Hickey ’21. “All the schools that we came up against are much bigger, and have coaches and full rosters of 25 players, which we do not have. Considering how young of a club we are, we did very well, and improved a lot from last year’s trip.” Although the results were not what the Tigers envisioned, it was still a positive learning experience.
“I’m very proud of the boys for going down to Nationals as a peer-coached, second year team from a small school and giving big Division 1 programs a run for their money,” said midfielder Lorenzo Auslander ’21. “We were in every minute of every game, and in the end, the shorelines tipped in favor of LSU, Virginia Tech and UPenn, but we know that we have the tools to come back next year and make a run into the knockout stages of the tournament.”
The young group of Tigers are both talented and ambitious and can only improve as they acquire more experience. They will certainly be a force to be reckoned with when next year’s national tournament rolls around.