UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | February 27, 2024

Soccer teams play last home games of season

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With only one game left in the season, Dixie State University women’s soccer aims to win out the season while the men prepare to battle for the conference title.

The DSU soccer teams each played two games over Halloween week. Both teams played Thursday against Hawaii Pacific University and Saturday against Chaminade University.

Men

The DSU men’s soccer team began the week ranked No. 2 in the Pacific West Conference and needed to win both games in order to play for the conference championship.

DSU men kicked off first against HPU, which is ranked No. 3 in the conference.

Both head coaches said they were excited to see how the teams would battle against each other for the No. 2 spot. 

“It is exciting to be at this point in the season where two teams are meeting up with both having a chance to win the conference,” HPU head coach Chris Fisher said.

HPU proves stronger on the offense with three scorers at 14 or more made goals for the season, and DSU has only one scorer at 16. However, DSU holds up on the defensive end this season with six shutouts and 70 saves compared to HPU with four shutouts but only 39 saves.

“Not giving up goals has been incredible for us,” DSU head coach Josh Pittman said.

The teams came out battling in the first half, and about midway through, junior midfielder Michael Ropelato scored for DSU. HPU tried to answer back in the first half but was unable to convert.

Senior midfielder Santiago Alejandro added another goal to DSU’s lead early in the second half. HPU continued to chase the two goals and scored around the 84-minute mark and left only six minutes to play. 

DSU answered back three minutes later with another goal scored by Alejandro.

HPU fought resiliently to create scoring opportunities for itself but fell to DSU 3-1.

Fisher said the first goal by DSU hurt them.  

“It puts us in the position to have to win on Saturday to put us in that position for that final game,” Pittman said. “We still have a lot of work to do.” 

The Storm played the last ranked team in the conference Saturday hoping to seal the deal to play for a championship next week.

Freshman midfielder Gabby Medina helped start DSU off strong by scoring just eight minutes into the first half.

DSU maintained that lead for the rest of the game, but wouldn’t score another goal. DSU held CU 1-0 for a shutout.

Pittman said CU was a good team to beat before facing Fresno Pacific University.

“Every team is good in this conference,” Pittman said. “We’ve got a lot of momentum going and things were just a little off for us today.”

The opportunity to play for the conference championship is what the Storm have been working for all season, senior midfielder Alex Galvan, a finance major from Guadalajara, Mexico, said.   

“Since the first day [Pittman] told us we were going to be in that championship, and here we are,” Galvan said.

Women

DSU women won both games this week, hoping to win-out the season against HPU.

DSU head coach Kacey Bingham said she wasn’t worried about the team’s confidence after its last game on the road ended in a loss.

“This team is pretty motivated no matter what they want to win,” Bingham said.

The women’s team faced off against HPU, which was on a three-game winning streak.

Bingham said she wasn’t taking the game lightly and was relying on her seniors to set the tone for the game.

The first goal for DSU was a shot by freshman forward Tori Washington but was scored with an own-goal from an HPU defender in the first half.

Both teams came out more aggressive in the second half, and DSU tried to maintain the lead while HPU chased one goal.

Freshman forward Darian McCloy scored for DSU with 15 minutes left on the clock. HPU attempted to create scoring opportunities but was shut out by DSU 2-0.

DSU got the eleventh win of the season and beat its record from last year with 10 wins.

DSU woke up early Saturday morning to play its last home game against CU and send its seniors off on a good note.

DSU came out firing in the first half and out-shot CU 17-2. DSU had a lot of looks at the goal, including a penalty kick missed by senior forward Jasmine Arollo, but was only able to score one goal in the first half by McCloy.    

DSU continued to take shots in the second half, followed by more saves by CU. Arollo made the next goal for DSU with 20 minutes left to play.

However, CU didn’t allow a DSU shut out with the final goal scored by freshman midfielder Kelli Fryxell in the last minute and ended the game 3-1.

Arollo said the team is aiming to win out its season in a competitive game against FPU on the road.

“I will be very happy to end my senior year like that,” Arollo said.