Standout defender coming to SAGU
Mariah Sanchez signs with Lady Lions
Coach Fortner seeks shut-down defenders
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The women’s soccer team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University added a new recruit to a talented group of incoming freshmen.
Mariah Sanchez was an adept defender on the left side for South Grand Prairie High School under Head Coach Mark Bolton. The 2012 Lady Warriors went 7-5-1 in Class 5A.
The red and gold clad Tribe’s best moments came when they were the Division 1 Grand Champion of the Lake Highlands Girls Classic League.
Sanchez also played club soccer for the FC Dallas girls 96 Premier team.
She earned Second Team All-District as a senior after being an Honorable Mention selection in 2011.
The Grand Prairie (pop. 175,000) resident bagged an unusual combination of Most Valuable Player awards for the Warriors; Offensive MVP and Defensive MVP. She looks to enter Sports Medicine when begins her studies at SAGU.
“Mariah will be a great addition to our defense,” claimed Mandy Fortner, the Head Coach of the Lady Lions. “She plays with confidence and composure as a defender and a midfielder.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of observing her work ethic in club practices and games,” the third year coach continued. “Her strengths include her technical ability, distribution of the ball, and reading and breaking down of the attack.”
“I look forward to working with Mariah and seeing her develop into a college athlete. She has the tools to become very good at this level.”
The youngest of three children to parents Martin and Micaela Sanchez (brother Martin is 26, sister Michelle Gonzales is 25) is involved in the “One Youth” student ministries at Harvest Temple Church in Grand Prairie.
Sanchez joins former SGP teammate, Audrea Davila, who was a freshman last fall. She will battle for a role with the defensive backfield, which has to replace two outstanding players.
Captain Jessica Powell-Roman (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS) graduated while 5'9 Gloria Lozano (El Paso, Tx / Socorro HS) will rehab this season following off-season surgery. They were a pair of highly dependable, athletic stalwarts on defense.
SAGU enjoyed their best season yet in 2012 when they posted a 6-10-1 record.
Many credited the team’s strong finish, narrowly missing the Red River Athletic Conference tournament by a half game, on their improved play in the midfield and on defense.
The Lady Lions allowed only 32 goals in 17 games, 1.9 per game. Six times the squad registered a shutout, with Haley Shingleton (Pasadena, Tx / Deer Park HS) and Amber Belisle (Roseville, Cal / Whitney HS) playing superbly between the pipes.
Overall, SAGU expects twelve returning players from the 2012 team and about that many newcomers.
The Purple Pride, who begin playing in the Sooner Athletic Conference this year, start pre-season camp the second week in August. Their first action is a home scrimmage against Hill College (Hillsborough, Tx) on Aug. 20.
The competition for starting berths should be intense, just as the new, stronger conference will surely generate the need for improved play.
Sanchez figures prominently in the mix, according to Coach Fortner.