The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s soccer team will open the 2018 season on Friday, August 31st against the University of Puget Sound in Tyler.
The Cru was picked to defend its 2017 American Southwest Conference title in the ASC’s Preseason Poll after finishing 17-3-1 a season ago. UMHB won the program’s first conference title and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament.
Head Coach Brad Bankhead returns 24 athletes from that roster, including USC and D3Soccer.com all-American Caleb Vandergriff and USC all-region selections Steven Dang and Martin Lopez. Vandergriff, a senior defender from Georgetown, Texas (East View H.S.) was a USC First Team All-American, D3Soccer.com Third Team All-American, USC First Team All-West Region, ASC Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-ASC. He anchored a Crusader back line that limited opponents to just 79 shots on goal and shutout 10 opponents in 2017. Vandergriff also contributed offensively with four goals and two assists including two game-winners. Dang, a senior defender from Plano, Texas (West H.S.) was named Second Team All-West Region and First Team All-ASC and Lopez, a junior midfielder from Hutto, Texas (East View H.S.) was chosen Third Team All-West Region and First Team All-ASC. Dang joined Vandergriff on a back line that led the ASC with a 0.66 goals-against average and ranked second in goals allowed (14). Lopez scored three goals in his sophomore campaign, including two game-winners. He recorded two assists and played more than 1,050 minutes in the midfield.
UMHB will face Puget Sound at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 31st at the University of Texas at Tyler. The Cru then returns home for a 1 p.m. match on Sunday, September 2nd against the University of Dallas at the UMHB Soccer Field in Belton.