sports writer Zach Sabel interviews Sach about his success this season.
The University of Tulsa has always prided itself on its sporting prowess. Though it may not always be evident in the team sports results every year, we have always been somewhat strong in athletics. This year it’s the men’s soccer team’s turn to go above and beyond, playing with heart for the school. The Hurricane sits undefeated at 8-0-0 after an electric last second win against SMU in double overtime last Wednesday.
A lot of this success could be attributed to players like Henry Sach. The senior has been one of the keys to the successful Tulsa defense this season as well as last season, having been tabbed for the American all-conference second team last season. This season, his efforts have been no less noticeable. This past week he was awarded the American Conference defensive player of the week, being Tulsa’s second award in the category this season.
When asked about the award, Sach said:
“Yeah, I mean it’s a nice gesture, it’s nice to be recognized. I know there’s a lot of good competition in this conference, obviously a lot of good players, especially on our team as well. We have a lot of good defenders, a lot of good midfielders and I feel like we have been very good defensively all year in every position really. To be recognized was special for me, but I mean, at the end of the day the main thing that I want to win and the team wants to win is conference and national championships, and awards like this are nice but there’s bigger things that we have ahead.”
Sach gives the impression that the team as a whole cares less about individual awards, regardless of how they make them look. To them, it’s more important to win a championship for the team and the school, or it’s all for naught.
It is not hard to see Sach and the rest of the defensive players’ contributions to the success of TU’s soccer team so far, having allowed only five goals in eight matches while helping keep shutouts in four of their matches so far. Sach does not see this as all the defense’s doing.
When asked about what has made the difference this season for the soccer team, Sach said:
“Last year, we depended heavily on Alex [Meinhard]. This year we’ve got loads of other guys scoring goals as well. The goalkeepers have been doing really well this year, especially considering he’s a freshman, probably one of the youngest players on the team. He’s stepped up and he’s doing what he’s doing, and he’s doing a great job. And then we’ve got a mix of experienced guys, whether that be Chase, Mariano, Mitchell, all these guys who’ve played here at Tulsa for four or five years. Some guys like myself, Mariano who are maybe older than these freshmen, but really anyone on the team, just being able to be defensively solid, knowing what we have to do which transfers into the midfield. We are very deep this year and it shows. It’s hard to have ten goalscorers seven games into the season, and we did that very well and hopefully that will continue. I mean, Malik’s been great, so has everybody else when they’ve needed to they stepped up. We are doing really well executing recently.”
This emphasis on acknowledging the achievements of the whole team and its sense of unity really shows how Sach and the rest of the TU soccer team exemplify the spirit of what it means to be a part of the Golden Hurricane. Sachs’ road here from playing soccer as a youth in the UK and Spain to representing Richland Community College to now is a great story that adds to the idea of this great determination this team holds.
Sach identifies his vocal leadership and workrate as some of his strengths that help the team on the pitch. These attributes are easy to see from a fan’s point of view, with the willingness to track back and hunt down the ball with great tackling ability. He identified Declan Rice of West Ham as a player he likes and tries to pick pieces of his game to help himself improve. You can see this with his ability to track back towards the ball and stop a counter with very skillful tackling. Last season the team, while having a good season, ended up falling short in some heartbreaking losses.
When asked about how the team stays on track and focus in the midst of their success this season, Sach said:
“At the end of the last game last year against UCF, it was a time we just all realized how difficult it was to lose and it wasn’t something we wanted to experience again…this year we just enjoy doing what we do, we don’t pay attention to the rankings. It’s nice to get recognized but we are just having a good time.UCF on Sunday is the biggest game of the season. We are just taking the season game by game. Last year, we put emphasis on games like UCF and Temple and then we lost, so I don’t think we should take our eyes off anybody else right now. To take down a top five team will be big for them and it should be big for us as well.”
This emphasis appears to be serving the team well, and hopefully they can continue this winning streak all the way to the conference tournament and beyond.
Sports are not the only thing important to Sach, having received academic all-conference honors. He says it can be a challenge balancing the training and study mix that a student athlete is expected to do, but that he utilizes tutors and makes time to study which has enabled him to succeed at TU. Many players have routines they stick to, and Sach told me that this is aided by the fact that the team practices very early in the morning, freeing up the whole day for individual workouts or getting the classwork done. On game days, the team likes to eat together if it has time and go through a walkthrough on the pitch. He likes to arrive and be one of the first ones to the field on game days to help him get into the mindset and ready for the game. It also helps him display his maturity and leadership amongst his fellow teammates.
Sach says that he hopes to continue playing soccer for as long as he can after TU, and with the performances he and the team put up week after week, It hardly seems to be something that would be difficult to do. The team has a real shot not to just win the AAC, but to go very deep in the NCAA national tournament for men’s soccer, helping boost the profile of our school along the way.
The next game is against UCF away, but fans can catch Henry and the Golden Hurricane back at Hurricane stadium Oct. 16 at 7:00 p.m. as they look to take on Temple and keep on marching towards the conference tournament.