MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s hard to have a much better season than the University of St. Thomas men’s soccer team had last season.

They went undefeated in conference play. They scored a team-record 56 goals, and won 13 games by shutout.

They had a program-record 19-game winning streak and made it all the way to the NCAA playoff quarterfinals.

It makes one wonder: How can they follow that up this season?

“The culture that they put in place…to take this journey to be a top-20 program and compete for, hopefully, a national championship again this year, it’s somewhat contagious,” said coach Jon Lowery. “So it’s in our locker room, it’s in our jerseys, it’s in our training gear, and it comes out here every day.”

But there is one catch — a lot of the team that did all that last year is now gone.

St. Thomas graduated 10 seniors off last year’s team, including the national player of the year. This year’s group has just four seniors and four juniors, the rest are underclassmen.

“We have such a youthful group. There’s a decent amount of experience in our seniors and juniors, but this is a very youthful group,” Lowery said. “And I think they’re in an interesting spot, where they have somewhat inherited some of our recent success the last two years, and now they’re expected to perform and execute at that level.”

But Lowery still believes this team, even with its youth, can be just as good, if not better, than last year’s.

“We believe that we can be the best,” he said.

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