Dixie State University men’s soccer was named Pacific West Conference champions after a perfect season in conference play.
The Trailblazers won 15 games in a row and went undefeated in conference play this season. This is the first time in the program’s history they have won a conference title and earned a bid in the NCAA Division II tournament.
DSU officially clinched the PacWest title Thursday with a 3-1 win against PacWest’s second place Concordia University Irvine and went on to beat California Baptist University 2-1 Saturday
DSU finished the regular season 15-3-0 overall and 13-0-0 in the PacWest.
The Trailblazers were motivated after they were picked to finish seventh in the coaches’ preseason poll for the conference, interim head coach Nyle Ortiz said.
“People thought what our team did last year was just a fluke,” Ortiz said. “To come out and say, ‘not only was last year not a fluke, but we are even better now’ was a huge statement for our guys this year.”
DSU is aiming to become the first team from the PacWest to win the NCAA Division II men’s soccer championship since Grand Canyon University in 1996.
“We’re definitely good enough to go far in [the playoffs],” said Bradley Trella, a senior goalkeeper and computer science major from Chandler, Arizona. “[The playoffs] are going to be exciting for our team.”
Blake Damato, a sophomore defender and exercise science major from Las Vegas, said defense is a huge part of DSU’s success.
“Right from the kickoff, our goal is to attack offensively but also make sure we can keep the ball out of our own net,” Damato said. “Our defense definitely has a huge role in our wins.”
Going into the playoffs, DSU is going to try and be as prepared as possible, Ortiz said.
“We’ll take everything one game at a time,” Ortiz said. “We will find out who our opponent is and prepare ourselves the best that we can for them.”
DSU will play Western Washington University Friday at noon in La Jolla, California, in the first round of their tournament debut.