Stars shoot to seventh straight NAC championship

By: Serek Hahn

October 31, 2012

Dominican University’s men’s soccer team sealed its seventh consecutive Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) Championship with a dramatic 2-1 win against Concordia University (Wisconsin) in Mequon, Wisconsin on Oct. 20. The Stars won the game with one NAC game still to go.

With the NAC regular season championship already in hand, the Stars didn’t let off the gas pedal. Instead, the team rolled to an 8-0 trouncing of neighborhood rival, Concordia University Chicago. The Stars finished the regular season with an 11-0-0 record against NAC opponents.

Senior defender Freddy Tovar weighed in on being NAC regular season champions for all of his four years on the team.

“This season is up there in terms of rank,” Tovar said. “We had games where we played very well and were able to make statements. It is also a special season because it is my last. I have been playing with some of my teammates for four years and the fact that we did this together makes it very special.”

Similar sentiments are echoed by sophomore forward/midfielder Ryan Ybarra.

“It makes me feel very honored to be a part of such a winning program,” he said. “The team is proud of continuing the streak and it makes us feel like our hard work and commitment is paying off.”

Confidence ran high in the team heading into the season. The Stars put a premium on playing at a high level against conference opponents and made being NAC champions a target from the beginning of the year.

“Being the NAC champions was a goal from the beginning of the season,” Ybarra explained, “but we tried not to talk about it too much and take the season one game at a time. It was an expectation the players and coaches wanted to achieve as a program.”

With this goal in mind, the team believed it had what it takes to bring home another NAC championship.

“Heading into the season, I was confident we would win the conference,” Tovar said. “We have eight seniors as well as other upperclassmen who know what it was going to take to win the NAC and were going to do everything they could to win. It is a team effort and it took help from every player on the roster and the coaching staff as well.”

However, the men’s soccer season doesn’t end with the end of the NAC regular season.

On Oct. 31, the top seeded Stars will play the lowest ranked teams remaining in the conference tournament. The possible foes are all teams that Dominican has beaten in regular season play, including Wisconsin Lutheran (4-0, Sept. 26), Concordia University Wisconsin (2-1, Oct. 20), Edgewood College (4-0, Sept. 15) and Milwaukee School of Engineering (2-1, Oct. 13).

The conference tournament game will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Dominican’s West Campus Field. If the Stars win the game, they will play on Nov. 3 against the winner of a matchup between the highest remaining seed Aurora College (1-0, Oct. 10).