Men’s soccer team loses first round of NAIA Nationals

The PNW men’s soccer season came to an end after the soccer team lost 3-1 against Davenport in the first round of the NAIA Nationals.

Chris Rassel, junior midfielder, scored the men’s soccer team goal with a free kick in the second half of the game.

Matt Bush, head coach, said he realized the team was going to lose when there was 15 seconds left in the game. At first, he did not believe the team was going to lose because of how hard the team has worked throughout the season.

Bush said he was initially disappointed because of how close the team was to winning, but he was more proud of the team’s efforts.

“Leveling the score at 1-1 with 15 minutes to play against an excellent Davenport team was fantastic. This was the team that won the national title two years ago and made the elite eight last year. There was a real sense of ‘We can do this,’” Bush said.

Bush also said the team’s difficulties were the harsh weather conditions and the opponent, Davenport.

Sergio Reyes, team captain, said this was the most disciplined game of the season.

“We did good considering we were playing against a top school and the team was super focused for all 90 minutes. We played mostly defense, and our plan was executed almost perfectly,” Reyes said. “We did everything that we were supposed to do. We, overall, had our on switch on and never turned it off.”

Reyes said he could not believe they lost, but that he could not ask for a better end to his last season. He said that he was sad after the loss, but that he accepted it.

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.’ I quote this from the Bible because it’s exactly how I felt about this game. We left our body and heart on that field and now we are just at peace,” Reyes said.

Bush agreed with Reyes that the team left it all on the field and that not one player left the field thinking they could have done better.

Bush said he was proud of the season’s outcome. Bush said their challenges for this season was a large number of new players, getting the players to work as a unit and injuries.

Overall, Bush said the team improved for the better.

“The team has improved in a number of areas, but defensively the team grew very well. We worked a lot on our structure and shape this year, which helped this aspect of our game,” Bush said. “After a slow start to the season, the guys really turned it around. They stuck together, believed in themselves, each other and the coaching staff. They all came through by qualifying for nationals.”

Bush said that he is going miss the family connection that was built between the teammates, the coaching staff and players and that he’s ready to start the next season.

Reyes said that after this season, there will be a leftover of great potential in the team. He believes the team will succeed in Division II next year.