Soccer Lions find their swerve in Kansas
Kounas corner kick hooks in for rare goal
Ambrosie stars on offense, gets second game-winner
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- In 1972 the Billboard charts listed the number one pop tune, by Johnny Nash, as “I Can See Clearly Now.”
A day after completing a sweep of two men’s soccer games in Kansas, details have emerged about yesterday’s triumph. The Southwestern Assemblies of God University team topped Sterling College, 3-1, with three sensational scoring plays.
The Lions, now 2-1, made the “beautiful game” just that. Each goal had the 'wow' factor.
After they returned to campus, a review of their road performance adds clarity for SAGU soccer fans.
Robert Ambrosie (Iasi, Romania / Richard Wurmbrand HS), a 5-foot-10 forward, and Lee Kounas (Oak Cliff, Tx / Townview HS), a pair of skillful sophomores, displayed their wares.
The influence of Head Coach Clem Oancea (WAHN-cha), a former Romanian national player, and Assistant Coach Alex Vazquez, from Mexico City, are building a possession offense with quick strike capabilities.
SAGU vaulted out of the gate, creating a very good chance in the first twenty seconds. Ambrosie narrowly missed just as the Star Spangled Banner finished.
It was a prelude of things to come.
SAGU maintained control like a governor on an engine. Then came one of the Lions four cornerkicks in the first half.
Kounas (KOO-nus) placed the ball by the left arc. From the corner he put the ball in play with a sweet foot, hooking the ball towards the net. In flight, Ambrosie made a move towards the ball, looking to deflect or to head it past the keeper, Nick Seeley.
The kick by Kounas had just enough swerve that the goalie, momentarily focusing on Ambrosie, was unable to reach the ball.
Scoring directly on a corner kick is rarely done.
Bending it like Beckham, the Kounas curve turned just inside the back post for a stunning score. It may have been the first school history.
The Lions continued futbol’s version of keep-away into the second half. Ambrosie then struck again, helping SAGU to a 2-0 lead.
He made an impressive run with the ball and spotted Kounas breaking into space. Ambrosie sent what Coach Vazquez described as a deftly touched pass to Kounas.
Paying it forward, Kounas returned the favor, tapping the ball back to Ambrosie as he neared the goal. From there he drilled a shot in the ‘five hole,’ scoring between the goalie’s wickets.
It proved to be the game-winning goal, his second in as many days. He is currently tied for the league lead in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
Later, in the 71st minute of the ninety-minute match, Ambrosie got past the defense and was brought down by the goalie in the box. The foul resulted in a penalty kick 70:18 into the game.
Co-Captain Jonathan Ramos (Tegucigalpa, Honduras / Garringer HS), a junior forward, stepped in to take the PK. Seeley anticipated a kick to his right, diving horizontally. “Colocho,” meaning curly top in Spanish, gunned his shot to the opposite side into an empty net.
Meanwhile the purple-cladded Lions were pitching a second consecutive shutout.
Senior goalie Cesar Galvan (Allen, Tx / Lovejoy HS) turned in a couple of saves to protect the SAGU lead. The play of the game saw the athletic, 5’7 Galvan leap to the far corner to clear a would-be score by Sterling.
“It was a spectacular save,” Vazquez said. “I think he actually flew!”
That is debatable. Plus, no cape was recovered at the scene.
The Warriors finally got onto the scoreboard in the 80th minute on a counter attack.
There were other opportunities to increase the visitor point total. A pair of freshmen, Sandro Salazar (Kissimmee, Fla / Gateway HS) and Walther Cavazos (Monterrey, N.L., Mex / Mesquite HS), got into the action.
Salazar had three chances while Cavazos (kah-VAH-sohs) was involved in a one-on-one against Seeley. The keeper won the encounter by blocking the shot after moving towards and colliding hard with Cavazos.
- Several players on the roster will be activated in the next week or so; some returning from injury.
- The official Box Score incorrectly indicated that Selamani Ngaruko (Conakry, Guinea / L.D. Bell HS) played in the game. Cesar Espana (Katy, Tx / Cinco Ranch HS), the back-up goalie, entered the game wearing #19, Ngaruko's number. Espana played on the field, not in the goal. Ngaruko has not been cleared to play and may be red-shirting this season.
- The 490-mile trip for two games in Kansas saw the team earn a pair of wins; 1-0 over Southwestern College, then a 3-1 defeat of Sterling College. Played in temps just under 100 degrees, the club had no significant injuries.
- The 2-1 start matches their beginning in 2012, 2010 and 2009. The team's best came in 2005 when SAGU won their first three games.
- Louisiana College, an NCAA D3 opponent, will host the Lions next Saturday, September 7, at 3:00pm. The Wildcats are currently 1-1. They lost to Berry College, 4-0, and then edged Piedmont College, 1-0, during a two-game weekend trek to Georgia.
- The Lions home opener is set for Monday, September 9, when Dallas Christian College visits. The game, which will be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live, is slated for a 5:00pm start. SAGU will play again at home the next day, Sept. 10, against Huston-Tillotson University.
- Through three games, Kounas has five points (two goals, one assist) and Ambrosie has four (two goals). The latter leads in both shots (seven) and shots on goal (six). Galvan is sporting a 1.67 goals against average.
- Watch the premiere of The War Room. The weekly show will feature all SAGU coaches of fall teams, including Coach Oancea. It will be aired on-line for the first time this Thursday, Sept. 5, at both 6:00pm and 10:00pm (CST). It will be repeated on Friday at 7pm and 10pm and once more on Saturday at 11:00pm.
Go to www.sagu.edu and click on Watch SAGU TV. Rob Price is the host of The War Room.