I witnessed my first Trinity University soccer game Sunday afternoon, as the Trinity Tigers took on the Austin College Roos. It was a beautiful day, more than equaled by the play on the pitch. Trinity is currently ranked #2 in the country, and it isn’t hard to see why. This victory puts them at 16-1-0 with only 2 games remaining.
From the get go the Trinity Tigers did a good job maintaining possession out of the back, and into the 2/3rd of the field. However, some mishit thru balls resulted in missed opportunities early on. I was very impressed by the play in the middle by #25 Christian Sakshaug, and #2 Quentin Van Der Lee. Both players displayed some great ball movement, and great footwork. It wouldn’t be long before that combo would pay off for the Tigers.
Another Trinity Tiger that put on a display was #7 Austin Michaelis. I’m not just saying that because he’s a Coppell Cowboy, my alumni, Go Cowboys, but he’s very talented at attacking the corners and feeding the ball back into the middle creating a lot of danger for the opposing team. This helped lead to Trinity’s 1st goal in the 17′. Austin crossed one into the box, Christian had a great finish that hit off the crossbar, and Quentin was able to finish on the rebound. Giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
#17 Jacob Hallenberger entered the match with 18′ left to play in the 1st half. He is a Freshman at Trinity whom we got to see play last year in the State playoffs for the Johnson Jaguars. He has been named player of the week twice this season. I asked Jake after the game what his biggest challenge was in the transition. He told me, “being the smallest guy again, and speed.” It’s like hitting a reset button.
Austin College had a couple of chances in the 1st half, one hitting off the crossbar, but Trinity would hold on 1-0 at the half. Austin College Keeper Joseph Khalaf had a amazing performance in the 1st half and is mainly responsible for the score not being much higher. He made a great save with a little over 3′ to play coming out on a 50/50 ball that resulted in leaving the game, but he returned to play the 2nd half.
The 2nd half we seemed to see the momentum shift back and forth. The Roos came out aggressive looking for the equalizer, and #1 GK Blake Lieberman would have his hands full for much of the 2nd half. Blake made a great save early on when Austin College Midfielder Jack Wheaton had a great attempt on goal. A couple other shots for Austin College would hit off the posts with under 10′ left to play, and I started to think to myself there’s is gonna be another goal in this game.
Luckily for the Trinity Tigers, it would come from one of their own. Jake Hallenberger had a perfect cross to Defender #11 Brent Mandelkorn, and Brent was able to get a head on it burying it in the side of the net with just under 3′ to play making the score 2-0.
If I had to sum up the Trinity Tigers Soccer team in one word I would choose SELFLESS, sometimes almost to a fault. They all display great passing, and a lot of intelligence. I wished sometimes a player would have taken a shot, instead of making a pass inside the box. It is refreshing to watch a team that plays so well together though, and kudos to all the coaches for building that kind of chemistry. Best of luck in the tournament, and bring it home to San Antonio.