It's clearly a season and team for the record books: regular-season conference champions, double-digit wins, an unbeaten record in the conference, first conference tourney win—and Coach and Player of the Year.
The 2022 Men's Soccer season reached new heights for the Panther Nation. But not everyone was surprised, including Head Coach Ryan Dickson.
"The season was not totally unexpected, as we had moments the past few years where we fell a bit short," he said. "The moment we knew that we deserved to be at the top was the 3-2 result over Covenant."
That win was a historic one for the program—a first against the Scots, a team that came into the contest regionally ranked. And it was a win that showed the grit of this year's Panther team.
Senior Blake Webb calls it a "season highlight."
"It was the first time we had beaten them in program history, and most importantly, it brought belief into the team that we could go on to win it all.
Webb led the team in assists with 11 and tied for second in points with 19.
"Personally, I think the best word to describe our season would be historic," he said. "I believe that this season will go down as one of the best ever in program history."
Senior Enrique Hernandez points to the season championship as his personal highlight.
"Winning the regular season has to top it off because it's our first in school history," he said. "What makes it even better is the group that I had around me. They made every day a great day on and off the soccer field because of how much we stuck together—no matter what."
Hernandez broke several school records during the season, becoming the school's all-time leading scorer in both goals (42) and points (98). With 21 goals and 50 points this year, he also was consistently among the top three scorers in all of Division III.
"As for the accolades I won, it's a blessing and I will forever remember it," he said. "But none of this is possible without my team and coach giving me the chance to be successful."
Both Webb and Hernandez plan on staying committed to the team for one more season, one where the team can build on this year's successes.
"There's only one thing left to do," Hernandez said. "That is lead our team to win the conference playoffs and make it to the NCAA national playoffs."