Women’s soccer claims SCAC Championship with 4-0 win over Dallas

Tigers avenge their loss in title game last season

Trinity%27s+women%27s+soccer+team+poses+with+the+SCAC+championship+trophy.+This+was+the+Tigers%27+24th+SCAC+title.+Photo+provided+by+Trinity%27s+Department+of+Athletics

Trinity’s women’s soccer team poses with the SCAC championship trophy. This was the Tigers’ 24th SCAC title. Photo provided by Trinity’s Department of Athletics

Last weekend, the women’s soccer team won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Tournament handily with a 4-0 victory in the semifinals on Saturday against Texas Lutheran University (TLU) and a 4-0 victory against the University of Dallas on Sunday in the finals. The Tigers got redemption this year with their 24th SCAC title after losing the SCAC championship in penalty kicks to Southwestern  University last year.

The last time the team played Dallas, it was a close game with Trinity only winning 1-0 during overtime. Dylan Harrison, head women’s soccer coach, attributed the much higher score during the tournament to the continued improvement of the team throughout the year.

“There were a few things that made the difference, but I would like to think our continued improvement played a large part. We were playing some of our best soccer these past few weeks. When you play a team that just sits and defends like Dallas, an early goal caused them to change their plans. Our first goal was one of the nicest of the year; it included, I believe, seven players all taking two touches max. The quality of the goal really gave us some momentum to dominate the rest of the game,” Harrison said.

Senior defender and co-captain Lindsey Peng, who won the SCAC Tournament Defensive Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the second time in her career, elaborated that the team remembered how close the last game was and the added pressure of the finals helped them secure the win.

“We sort of walked into the game with a little bit of a chip on our shoulders knowing we could be better. I would also say that a lot of it had to do with going into our last game of the entire year. We have been playing almost continually since August; it had been a long time leading up to that game so I think everyone just kind of knew what we needed to do,” Peng said.

First year midfielder Reese Wallace explained that the team had great energy leading up to the game and that a championship was the perfect end to the team’s hard work and determination throughout the year.

“Leading up to this weekend, the team’s energy was really high. Everyone was excited to showcase everything we’ve worked on for months and get the outcome that we deserved. It feels good [to win], but most of all, it feels right. We worked so hard every day to prove that we are the best, and it definitely showed. I am so proud to be on this team of wonderful girls on and off the field and to constantly be in a supportive environment. It is also awesome to set such a tone my first year here,” Wallace said.

Lindsey Peng kicks the ball forward in a home match against Southwestern. Peng, the Tigers’s only senior, was named the SCAC Tournament Defensive MVP for a second time in her career. (Claire Sammons)

As the only senior on the team, Peng holds this win close to her heart.

“The win means a lot. This entire season has meant a lot to me. It has been a hard year to be a senior, but this team means so much to me, and I know that everyone has made many sacrifices that even gave us the opportunity to get that final win, and so going out on a win with them is the perfect ending to this year. Getting to finish my soccer career winning on the field with my favorite people, there’s just no real way to put into words how much that means to me and how grateful I am,” Peng said.

Beyond winning the championship, Harrison reflected on the season as a whole and the challenges faced due to COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. He explained that after all the isolation, he and the team were grateful to be together with a purpose during this time.

“Our team often said how they were thankful for the routine and the personal interactions. I was thankful for regaining a sense of purpose. I want to be very clear, my purpose is not about winning championships. It’s about sharing meaningful experiences with people I care about. The time we were given to get to know each other on a deeper level was the best part of the whole situation for me. I will never make claims like one team being the best over all others, but I can say this was absolutely the right team for the moment. They were the right team for me, I needed them,” Harrison said.

Harrison also expressed his gratitude for all the behind-the-scenes work to make this year of athletics possible.

“All of this would not have been possible without a lot of people recognizing the role athletics plays in our academic setting. We want to personally thank Dr. Anderson, Dr. Dee Jones, [athletic director] Bob King, head [athletic trainer] Marc Powell, our [athletic trainer] Meghan Lovell and all our support staff that did an amazing job running 18 sports all competing in the spring. Last but never least a huge thank you to our team’s favorite coach, Spencer Valdespino,” Harrison said.

For Peng, although her final game and final season as a Tiger wasn’t what she wanted or even imagined, she couldn’t be more grateful for the team and the program.

“This program has been everything to me these past four years. It honestly has felt a bit like a family. It hasn’t always been easy, but this team and this program has given me so much. It gave me my favorite people at Trinity. It has given me support through rough academics, an injury and even a senior year pandemic,” Peng said. “Especially this year, the amount of support and love I have felt from my teammates has been incredible. It would have been so easy for everyone to just write this year off as unimportant or irrelevant. I mean, we didn’t get to play out of conference; we didn’t get to compete in an NCAA tournament; we didn’t even get to have anyone come watch us, but this program, my coaches, [and] my teammates stepped up and made this really tough year so meaningful and memorable for me. I love this team and am just so beyond grateful for each person that has been a part of the program these past four years.”