MACU tops Lady Lions, 3-0
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Facing a very talented opponent that routed them a year ago, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s soccer team had their work cut out for them on Wednesday at Lions Pride Park. They more than held their own.
Mid-America Christian University returned practically their entire team that went 16-4-1 in 2010. They routed the Lady Lions 6-0 by outshooting them 40-2 in the process. While the Evangels had SAGU on their heels for much of the game, they could manage only a 3-0 triumph over a young and building Southwestern club. They cut MACU’s scoring and shooting in half in a much-improved effort.
“We moved the ball better than we did in our first game,” first year head coach Mandy Fortner said just moments after the game. “We were combining more passes and making fewer turnovers. Overall, it was a good game to build on.”
The Lady Lions, with eight freshmen, are in the early stages of the youth movement under Coach Fortner. They are making progress. One of those young players, Vicky Hagemeier (Democratic Republic of the Congo), redshirted as a freshman. She impacted the game.
“Vicky was active and alert throughout,” Fortner illustrated. “She saved us three goals with her play on defense.” Two times she cleared the ball from deep inside the box, once on a shot that had eluded freshman goalie Haley Shingleton (Pasadena, Tx / Deer Park, Tx).
MACU held only a 1-0 halftime advantage when the game was halted for forty minutes due to a quick storm that blew through Ellis County. When play resumed the Evangels tacked on a quick goal for a 2-0 margin, with both scores coming on Kelsey Swisher to Julia Nimal plays.
The Lady Lions competed well and maintained an aggressiveness that refused to allow the score to get out of hand. Three players stood out according to Fortner: Daniela Garcia (Tucson, Az / Rio Rico HS), Noelle Pugliese (Lee’s Summit, Mo / Lee’s Summit North HS) and Natalie Pena (Dallas, Tx / Union HS (Tulsa).
“Dani played well in the second half,” Coach Fortner pointed out. “She was aggressive, winning balls and attacking their defense. She simply hustled all game long. Noelle and Natalie played several positions and have exhibited a lot of desire to do whatever it takes to make us a better.”
The Evangels, who are led by co-coaches Zach Bice and Evan Dresel, outscored their opponents by a 54-16 count last fall. Their trademark has been defense.
“It was a win on the road,” Bice said. “We did a good job in ball-possession. It was just a good start to the season. Our defense plays solid and is the strength of the squad.”
Evidently. During their best-ever season a year ago, they posted 12 shutouts in their 21 games, including six in a row at one point.
The Lions were held in check for much of the match, but they had their moments. The most memorable highlights included a shot by Amy Lambdin (Stockton, Cal / Elliot Christian) in the seventh minute. It narrowly missed the left post. Shingleton deflected a shot that was then cleared by Jessica Powell (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS). Shingleton added a splendid sliding save in the second half.
Lambdin set up Pugliese with perhaps the team’s best opportunity to score. She spotted the sophomore open in the crease, but her shot from twelve yards was denied. Defensively, a solid check was applied by Garcia on the edge of the box late in the game. It sent a forward to the turf inquiring the number of the train that she collided with.
SAGU will be back in action on Saturday morning, August 27, when they play host to Dallas Christian College at 11am. The Lady Lions topped the Crusaders in their last meeting two years ago.