BYU men’s soccer wins NIRSA Club National Championship

Savannah Hopkinson
Davis Walker celebrates a goal against Utah Valley University. Davis and the men’s soccer team returned to Provo with a national championship. (Savannah Hopkinson)

The Cougars beat Ohio State 3-1 in Round Rock, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 23, to capture the NIRSA Club National Championship. This marks the second National Championship win for BYU since the team switched from a professional developmental league to club in 2017.

BYU has dominated since its return to club soccer in 2017, losing only once in its three-year tenure — a loss that came during last year’s national tournament. BYU remains undefeated in conference play, and only once has BYU seen a game not end in victory while playing conference foes — a game that resulted in a draw against Utah State in 2018.

The team began the 2019 national tournament with a 1-1 draw against Texas A&M in their first game of the tournament. Texas A&M went on to draw against Iowa State, 0-0, setting the stage for a BYU vs. Iowa State showdown with first place in their pool being on the line. BYU easily handled the Cyclones with a 5-0 victory to advance to the next round of the tournament as the winners of the MCD group with Ohio State also advancing into the knockout stages.

The win over Iowa State marked the first of four consecutive shutouts that advanced BYU to the championship game on Nov. 23.

BYU men’s soccer has dominated the playing field not only throughout the tournament but also throughout the entire season. The Cougars won the 2019 region championship on Oct. 26 as they scored a total of 31 goals on their opponents while only allowing one goal through its four games of regional tournament play against Central Washington University, Washington State, Montana State and Gonzaga. Central Washington was the only team to score on BYU, and the game resulted in a 7-1 BYU win.

In the regular season, the Cougars outscored opponents 33-2 in their region, which includes Utah, Weber, Boise State, BYU-Idaho, Utah State and UVU. 

BYU matched up with Drexel, Michigan and UNC on its way to the national championship game, winning 2-0, 3-0 and 3-0 against the three teams. The other team that advanced from BYU’s pool — Texas A&M — was eliminated in the first round of the knockout stage by the eventual national runner-up, Ohio State.

Ohio State brought an undefeated record of 17-0-1 into the national championship on Nov. 23, allowing just eight goals through 19 games in 2019. A 1-0 overtime win over the University of Delaware set the national championship stage for Ohio State and BYU.

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