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Cougars "surpassed expectations"

The MVNU men’s soccer team ended the season 12-4-3 after falling to Indiana Wesleyan University 1-0 in the Crossroads League Tournament quarterfinals.

The Cougars secured their trip to the league tournament as the third seed after finishing the conference season winning five games, losing two and drawing two.

Senior forward Enrique Salazar, who was named the 2016 Crossroads League Offensive Player of the Year, led the Cougars’ 2016 season with 11 total goals. Salazar was the top scorer in the Crossroads League this season.

Dennis Taylor, also a senior forward, tallied six goals and freshman midfielder Connor Davis led the newcomers, recording seven.

Salazar, junior goalkeeper Adam Miller and freshman defender Gerardo Rivas were given All-Crossroads League First Team Honors for their performances this season.

Miller ended the year with 68 saves, and helped the Cougars to nine shutouts for the season (12th in the NAIA).

Rivas made an immediate impact as a freshman, anchoring the Cougars’ defense, which allowed just 19 goals this season. Rivas also tallied three goals and one assist for the MVNU Cougars.

As a whole, the team excelled in teamwork and intensity all season. The Cougars also were known throughout the league for strong defense.

Many of the freshmen stepped up and made names for themselves in their first season of collegiate play.

“We had a great season,” Cougars Head Coach Andrew Belleman said. “We surpassed expectations with this young group of guys. I’m really proud of them.”

The Cougars will graduate seniors Salazar, Tent Chivatanaporn, Daniel Rodriguez, Taylor Dyson and Dennis Taylor.

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