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Friday match in OKC begins at 2:00pm

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espinosa-wincesWAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The first-ever league match as new members in the Sooner Athletic Conference for the men’s and women’s soccer teams from Southwestern Assemblies of God University takes place Friday afternoon.

SAGU travels to Oklahoma City to play Mid-America Christian University on their campus pitch.

The Lady Lions, 1-6 overall, will meet the Lady Evangels, who are 5-3, at 2:00pm (CST).

Follow the play-by-play on the LiveStats webcast at: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Webcasts.aspx?association=10

Video is not available.

Fans can follow news of the match on Twitter @SAGUSportsNet.

At approximately 4:00pm the Lions, 3-5, tangle with the MACU (MACK-you) Evangels, who are 4-3-1.

While it is SAGU’s debut in the SAC, both MACU teams are 0-2 in league play.

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The Lady Evangels have outscored their opposition 26-13. They are led by three offensive performers in Kaci Power (8 goals), Chelsea Swisher (8 goals, 7 assists) and Ciara Mitchell (5 goals, 3 assists).

Kenady Maynard, their goalie, has built a 5-1 record, allowing just 10 goals in eight games.

SAGU has scored just five goals while surrendering 19. A positive sign, however, has been the defense. It has held four of seven foes to two goals or less.

Freshman midfielder Madi Thornley (Flower Mound, Tx / Marcus HS) spearheads the offensive attack with two goals while taking 10 shots.belisle-amber-header

Freshman goalie Kathleen Espinosa (Corpus Christi, Tx / King HS) has been playing well of late. Haley Shingleton (Deer Park, Tx / Deer Park HS) could return to the net.

“Our strengths are in our possession game,” says Head Coach Mandy Fortner. “We are able to maintain control of the ball better in the back.”

“We have struggled in the development of our attack,” she admits, “but we have trained hard this week and hope to see improvement in the upcoming games. We’ve lacked the needed confidence in our offense.”

One promising player, freshman Samantha Gonzales (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) ), will not be physically available the rest of the way.

“We have some other injuries,” Fortner pointed out, “but they are healing as we prepare for SAC games. We need everyone back.”

Three players who have been at the forefront of the team’s bid to win include two seniors and a freshman; Natalie Pena (Dallas, Tx / Tulsa Union HS), Lyndi Garrison (Hastings, Mich / Thornapple Kellogg HS) and newcomer Kaylie Cox (Midlothian, Tx / Midlothian HS).

“Penny (Pena) has been the most consistent, hardworking player on the field for us,” Fortner said. “She has a lot of heart, a lot of skill and a willingness to fight for 90 minutes.”

“She is the heart of our midfield at this point. Natalie moved to the center forward position for the first time this year.”

“It came at a time when we needed to gain some momentum in our attack and found the back of the net within 20 minutes.” It was her eighth career goal.

ws-lyndi-garrison-2013Garrison, a quick forward with five career scores, has been equally consistent according to Fortner.

“Her speed helps us both in the attack and on defense,” she said.

“Lyndi has been willing to play a defensive role in some games and has done very well there.”

“Early in the season she had several goal scoring opportunities but just wasn’t able to place the shot. She is proving to be a big asset.” 

Speaking about Cox, the third year coach explained that she has been a strong player on the back line.

“She is a freshman and has started every game. She is plays with control, skill and patience and has been huge on defense for us.”

Should the Lady Lions score on Friday, it will be their first in the series. MACU has won all five meetings, outscoring SAGU by a 24-0 count, including both games in OKC.

A full report will be posted here on Friday night.

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 at 469-658-2847.