Lightning struck the field Saturday night, forcing the Dixie State University men’s soccer team to postpone its scrimmage against Salt Lake Community College until Sunday morning.
Three 30-minute delays and an hour-and-a-half later, DSU received the news that the game had been rescheduled. If there is lightning less than eight miles away, NCAA rules state the game cannot be played until the storm clears.
“We have got to have safety first with our athletes,” head coach Danny Ortiz said. “We want them to be as safe as they can be. And as long as there is lightning, there is no reason for us to be out there.”
After a physical game with a few head injuries, the two teams played to a 1-1 draw. The Storm gave it [the soccer season] a week early,” said midfielder Josh Cook, an integrated studies major from Las Vegas. “[The team captains] decided that the most important thing is team unity. And that is what we lacked in previous years.”
That team unity was shown during the delay on Saturday when the team was cooped up indoors playing friendly games of hangman where you heard nothing but laughter.
“The guys get along very well, which helps,” Ortiz said. “But I think there is a good flow with what they do, so we are excited to see what happens with this.”
Cook said some of the freshmen arrived early this season. He said the upper classmen got to really know them. As a team they played street soccer, went to Zion and played video games. He said it was focused on getting to know the freshman.
“Instead of it just strictly being soccer—we got to hang out,” Cook said.
Cook said he was really impressed with the incoming class.
“All of them can play really well,” Cook said. It’s probably the best team we have had at Dixie so far. I am just really excited. I know that we are going to do great things.”
Not only has Dixie brought in talent, but it has also brought in numbers to the team. The Storm now has enough players to play 11 vs. 11 during practice, which is something they haven’t had in the past.
“We have a lot of quality guys with the freshmen and the junior college transfers, so I think it’s a quicker team, and we definitely added a little bit of size to us,” Ortiz said. “But I’m pretty positive to what I have seen so far.”
Cook said the only down side to having so many excellent players is not everyone is going to have time to play, so a lot of good players are going to have to stay on the sidelines.
“With these scrimmages, we are trying to get everyone some playing time during the week and to make sure they are all ready to go and know their goals,” Ortiz said.
The Storm’s first official game is on Sept. 7 against Westminster College.
“Next week we will definitely be a little bit more zeroed down to our starters and the back-ups to make sure that they are ready to go,” Ortiz said. “So it’s a little different approach going forward from here once we get in to games that really count and go on our record.”
This will be the first time DSU has played Westminster College. Ortiz said it is somewhat of an in-state rival. One thing that would make a big difference would be students behind the team. He said it’s always going to help the team be successful.