For the second time in program history, the Hastings College men’s soccer team won the NAIA National Championship, completing a perfect season in the process. The last championship came in the 2010 season; the Broncos were the National Runner-Up in the 2011 season.
Hastings picked up a 1-0 win over the University of Rio Grande (Ohio) who was the defending champion. The lone goal scored in the match came from the boot of Lucas Venegas in the 57th minute. The Broncos picked up another quick goal, but that was eventually called back due to an offside ruling.
This year, under first-year head coach Aaron Champenoy, the Broncos are again on top. Their season record was 25-0-0.
After the departure of legendary head coach Chris Kranjc in the off-season, it looked to be rebuilding year for the Broncos. Hastings was the first team out of last year’s National Championship tournament after an upset loss in the GPAC Finals to Concordia, and nearly two decades of national prominence had been jeopardized.
But not too long after Kranjc left for the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Hastings hired the former University of St. Thomas (Texas) coach. While the new addition seemed promising, there was still a lot to question.
Champenoy capitalized on much of the returning core for Hastings, along with bringing in a few players from St. Thomas and recruiting transfer-goal keeper Joe White from Warner Pacific (Oregon).
This year’s squad not only won some hardware, but they were one of the most prolific all-around teams in the country. Hastings ranked second in the NAIA in total goals (85) and fourth in total shutouts (14). In addition, they were led by the GPAC Player of the Year, sophomore striker Daniel Whitehall, who led the nation and set a program record with 35 goals this season.