Wednesday, November 11, 2015

All Good Things Come To An End

Dustin Ashley, a captain on the 2015 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be the new blog author for the squad this season. He will be blogging all year long on the UWM website.

Today is his seventh and final entry of the campaign as he chronicles the adventures of the team during his senior season.


It almost seems as if things started to turn a corner for us a little too late. We closed out our season with Western Illinois, Detroit and Northern Kentucky. We had Western Illinois come to us on a chilly Tuesday evening. Seniors Declan Rodriguez and Zach Stevenson were both able to bag goals in the 2-0 win over the Leathernecks, a game we always share between the two sides every season. It was a nonconference game for us, but our guys have a mentality of every time we step on the pitch, we expect to win, especially at home in front of our fans.

Following that game, we had the rest of the week to get after things before the weekend when we would head to Detroit for a must-win Horizon League game to keep our postseason hopes alive. Unfortunately, we gave up a goal in the second half and were unable to equalize. This indeed was the final punch that knocked us out of the running for the Horizon League tournament. It was a difficult thing for the group to grasp, especially the seniors, knowing we only had one more week as college athletes. Regardless of the situation, nobody in the locker room put their head down, and we stayed hard at work that final week of training. We welcomed 2nd-place Northern Kentucky for our final game of the 2015 season. We started all but one senior and were able to comfortably handle the game with a 4-0 win, and then entire team saw minutes, which was awesome. It was so cool that all the seniors, even the international guys, were able to have their parents present for the game.

For all the readers, who may or may not know me personally, I want to reflect on my collegiate career. I began my college soccer career at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. After I felt like I was able to make an impact at the Division 2 level, I wanted to see if there were any Division 1 options still available for me. After exploring a few options, I committed to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where I would spend my next four years playing soccer and pursuing a marketing degree.

Deciding to come to UWM has been bigger than soccer for me though, it has become my life. I have been able to apply myself to not only a great athletic department, but also opportunities that have allowed me to network and gain the tools and experience I will need for when I graduate. This University has been so good to me. I have been able to find myself a role within the Athletic Board, as well as the Student Athletic Advisory Committee president. I have been able to play and work for some great staff members, and have met some of my best friends. I can honestly say that Milwaukee was the place that I was set out to be.

This season didn’t play out the way I expected my senior year to go, but I guess that’s how the game is. It can take you great places, and can also be severely brutal. I step away from UWM soccer leaving as a better athlete, and as a better person. UWM as a University, and a soccer program, will always be a part of me. Thank you to everyone who has impacted me here, and allowed me to cross paths with you, as well as all my blog readers throughout the season. Until next time…