The Dixie State University men’s soccer team dominated Northwest Nazarene University Saturday for a 1-3 victory heading into conference play.
After beginning the 2016 season with a record of 1-3, the Trailblazers got back on track against NNU with a decisive victory.
After more than 30 minutes of scoreless first-half action, junior forward Ather Dawood gave DSU a 0-1 lead with a goal from 35 yards out. Both defenses finished the half strong, DSU was on top heading into halftime.
“Coach brought us together at halftime and told us [NNU] was not going to go away,” said Dawood, a psychology major from Tucson, Arizona. “We just let the ball do the work, and we did what we needed to do [in the second half].”
Less than five minutes into the second half, the Crusaders tied the game at 1-1 off of a penalty kick.
DSU was able to recapture the lead in the 59th minute thanks to a header from sophomore midfielder Gabby Medina.
The Crusaders received another penalty kick, but failed to tie the score after the kick sailed wide right.
The game turned extremely physical in the second half, evidenced by three yellow cards given to NNU players in the span of less than 10 minutes. Despite the physicality of the game, DSU was able to maintain composure.
“Our coaches have been [really pushing] mental toughness,” said Medina, a finance major from Mesquite, Nevada. “We can’t let the [referees] or other players decide the game for us. We are accountable for what we are doing and that’s what we hold to.”
Minutes later, Medina put the game out of reach with his second goal of the game coming on a breakaway as he placed the ball just out of the goalie’s reach.
Neither team scored following Medina’s second goal, and DSU walked away with a 1-3 victory over the Crusaders.
“I thought we were very well prepared for this game,” head coach Tim Busen said. “Leading up to the game we were very focused so I had a good feeling we would come out the way we did tonight. We didn’t let anything shake us.”
Having won two games in a row now, the players and coaches are hoping momentum continues to build heading into conference play.
“We got the result we wanted,” Medina said. “We’re headed into conference play next week very confident and ready.”
The Trailblazers open conference play Thursday at Azusa Pacific University.