After a three-point comeback in the final half of the game, the Dixie State University men’s soccer team ended the game with a 3-3 draw against the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
A long battle was fought between the teams as the afternoon went on. Just as DSU was about to throw in the towel, things turned around.
After being injured the past few games, senior midfielder Josh Cook entered this match ready to fight. He scored the first of the three goals in the second half to bring the Storm back in the game.
“The free kick was nuts—it felt really good,” said Cook, an integrated studies major from Las Vegas. “We have been practicing [free kicks] at practice, so right when it left my foot, I knew it was a good shot. I felt really good about it—I was just ecstatic.”
Dixie was in a three-point deficit in the first half, but that did nothing to damper its attitude. Cook’s goal was quickly followed by goals from junior midfielder Erik Shallenberger and freshman defender Ryan Baugh to tie the game.
“It was just frustrating going in to the locker room at halftime because it seems like we don’t start playing until the second half every game,” Cook said. “We don’t come out with enough energy in the first half, so the second half we were firing it up.”
Head coach Danny Ortiz said he could see the Storm’s effort and that is what DSU has been searching for this season.
“If we can harness what we had this second half and apply it and move forward, I think we are going to be OK,” Ortiz said.
The Storm will take on Holy Names University Saturday and plan to revenge a suffering 2-0 loss to HNU on the road last year.
Cook said HNU is a quality team and is looking forward to playing it. But in order to come out with a win this year, there are some things that need to change for Dixie.
“One thing we need to emphasize is that we need to come out harder the first half,” Cook said. “We come out very complacent and very laid back and we wait for things to happen when we need to just take the initiative.”
Cook said he noticed, during the second half of the H-Hilo game, the team had the drive to score.
“With that, I hope we use the momentum from [last game] and go into Holy Names and know that we are going to try our best and hope for the best, as well,” Cook said.
Ortiz said HNU is organized on the field, but if the Storm keep doing what they are doing, they will come out on top.