Athletic News

Kickin’ and Grinnin’

Fortner energizes Women’s Soccer

BOOK 'EM DANO:  Forward Dani Garcia (7) battles Northwood's All-Conference Natalie Carter.WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Taking over a young women’s soccer program that produced just one win in seventeen tries last fall, new head coach Mandy Fortner has her work cut out for her. She has hit the ground running.

We’re excited about getting started,” she said as spring turned into the month of May. “There’s much to get done and no time to waste.

The Lady Lions will begin their sixth season in mid-August intent on moving from competitive towards contending. Having started in 2006, the program has struggled through their formative years, going 0-13, 2-16, and 2-14-2 under Jeremy Tosaya (now the head coach at Dakota Wesleyan), and 4-11-1 and 1-15-1 with Tim Grant at the helm.

Coach Fortner, who had an illustrated All-American collegiate career as a high-scoring forward, must replace three of SAGU’s best-ever players.  Forward Madison Wells (Farmers Branch, Tx / R. L. Turner HS), defender Sarah Powell (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS) and goalie Tracy Griffin (Wylie, Tx / Wylie HS) graduated.

The Lady Lions are members in the Red River Athletic Conference, which has 10 schools fielding women’s soccer. Following nine-game non-conference games, Southwestern will play the other nine league foes. Five of those games will be played at home. Of SAGU’s 18 games, half are on the sod of Southwestern Field, considered one of the best playing surfaces in the RRAC.

SAGU to play nine home matches

Only three of the nine road games are outside of the Lone Star State. They will don their solid purple threads when they travel to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to face Southwestern Christian University in August, to Shreveport, Louisiana in September when they tangle with LSU-Shreveport, then trek 350 miles to Hobbs, New Mexico for a clash with the University of the Southwest.

The unofficial team theme in recent seasons has been: “The Defense Never Rests.” The other side of that has been the tongue-in-cheek “Because the Offense Seldom Scores.”

With Griffin between the pipes and Powell roaming the defensive backfield, SAGU has held their own in limiting opposing scorers. Griffin, in fact, has led the conference in saves and was #2 nationally last year.

As impressive as they have been, much of the reason has been the Lady Lions’ limitations in controlling the ball at midfield and lack of production on the frontline. Those will be the object of Fortner’s recruiting focus.

Building a new Core

LAST YEAR'S TRI-CAPTAINS: Madison Wells (14), Tracy Griffin (center) and Sarah Powell (22).

Don't be surprised if this year's Lady Lions focus on a defense that is anchored by junior Jessica Powell (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS) and sophomore Shelby Morgan (Silsbee, Tx / Silbee HS). Powell may play at center-midfield, making room for a personable redshirt from last year; Ashley Nerat (Menomonee Falls, Wisc / Menomenee HS). a left-footed defender, will make an immediate impact. The heir aparent at goalie, Haley Shingleton, could be very solid as the 'Cats Keeper. She was signed during Campus Days by Tim Grant, and is a great fit at SAGU.

Also watch for senior Dani Garcia (Tuscon, Az / Rio Rico HS), Lyndi Garrison (Hastings, Mich / Thornapple Kellogg HS) and Noelle Pugliese (Lee's Summit, Mo / Lee's Summit North HS) (pronounced PUGG-lees) who could use this opportunity to step up their game. With new recruits arriving, a new day has dawned on SAGU soccer!

She has issued a strong summer challenge to returning players and incoming newcomers. An advocate of physical conditioning and proper dieting, Coach Fortner believes a team that is in shape can achieve more as a result. Her personal example serves as an inspiring pattern.

Coach Fortner is as busy as a dentist in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Two of her recent recruits will soon be announced, and she is expecting to reel in others. Her first class is projected to make an immediate impact, pressing for starting assignments from the get-go.

The Lady Lions report to fall camp on August 12, just days before they travel west to face Western Texas College on August 16. They have two home tilts prior to students arriving on campus.

Team Lioness has a pair of games the week school begins; September 5 against Central Baptist College, from Conway, Arkansas, then play host to Dallas Christian College four days later.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 469-658-2847.

Women’s 2011 Soccer Schedule

Date Opponent (2010-2011 Record) Location Time
8/16 Western Texas College (18-0) Synder, TX 1 PM
8/20 Wayland Baptist University (2-15) Home 11 AM
8/24 Mid-America Christian (OK) (16-4-1) Home 3 PM
8/30 Southwestern Christian University (5-12-1) Oklahoma City, OK 1 PM
9/2 UT-Dallas (12-6-2) Dallas, TX 7 PM
9/5 Central Baptist College (AR) (9-8) Home 11 AM
9/9 Dallas Christian College** Home 3 PM
9/12 Wayland Baptist University (2-15) Plainview, TX TBA
9/17 University of Houston at Victoria (2-13) Houston, TX TBA
9/22 Northwood University* (15-4-1) Cedar Hill, TX 1 PM
9/24 LSU-Shreveport* (10-7-1) Shreveport, LA 1 PM
9/29 Bacone College (OK)* (9-9) Home 1 PM
10/1 Texas College* (4-8-1) Home 1 PM
10/13 Our Lady of the Lake University* (13-2-2) Home 1 PM
10/15 UT-Brownsville* (12-4-2) Home 11 AM
10/20 Texas Wesleyan University* (13-6) Ft Worth, TX 5:30 PM
10/22 Univ of the Southwest* (3-10-1) Hobbs, NM 11 AM
10/29 Huston-Tillotson University* (4-12-2) Home 1 PM
11/5 RRAC 1st Round Playoffs Ft Worth, TX TBA
11/10-12 RRAC 2nd Round / Finals Cedar Hill, TX TBA
11/17-19 NAIA Sub Nationals / NCCAA Regional Tournaments    
11/28-12/3 NAIA & NCCAA National Tournaments    
*RRAC Games
**Statistics & Records not available
Teams are from Texas unless otherwise noted
 

 

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