Dustan Copeland, Sports Writer, @DustyCopey
First appearing in print on October 13, 2014.
Sept. 19 was a big day for Utah Valley University men’s soccer. The team hosted No. 21 Denver, which boasted nine seniors – eight more than the Wolverines – but an edge in experience did not scare the young UVU squad.
The Wolverines took down the Pioneers with a final score of 2-1. Freshman Lucas Cawley earned Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors, scoring a crucial goal in the 65th minute and assisting on the game-clenching goal in the 75th.
The Centerville native, and Utah’s 2014 Mr. Soccer from Viewmont High, gave all credit for the victory to his teammates.
“It kind of really reflected our team’s performance,” Cawley said about being named player of the week. “I was happy to get recognized and happy it happened, but mostly I was happy it came through such a huge win against Denver. That was the best part about it—that it was against a ranked opponent.”
The honor does indeed reflect the team’s performance. Though an extremely young team, Utah Valley has been playing on the same level as some of the best in the nation.
The Wolverines’ chemistry has developed at a very rapid pace. Perhaps this is because the team relationship extends beyond the field.
“Growing up,” Cawley explained, “a lot of us played with a lot of the same players. I know that there is half the team that’s not from Utah, but when you’ve got a strong base that’s played with each other and grew up in the same culture, it made it really easy to build that relationship. And, the guys that came in from out of state, they just fit right in and we created a strong team bond right from the start.”
UVU has the ninth best fan attendance figure in the country, which has been a great help to the team.
“When you’re out there playing, you get the extra lift and boost from the crowd,” said Cawley. “It really helps you expect the most from yourself and really play the best you can for everybody watching. It gives you that extra lift in the game.”
Strong play against nationally ranked non-conference teams has given UVU high hopes leading into WAC play.
The Wolverines hold themselves to a high standard. They understand that they are a young team, but their goals are the same as every one with veteran leadership. As conference play begins, they plan on bringing home a WAC championship.
“That’s going to be our goal, and we’re going to try to come up nothing short of that,” Cawley stated concerning the WAC championship.
The men’s soccer team did not come to build a program but to win – right away.
“This was going to be something that was a serious, big thing right from the start,” said Cawley. “We were going to be able to come in and make a splash right from the start.”
They have come in and made quite the splash with surprising upsets. For a talented, young team like this, it appears that the future will continue to bring favorable results.