Athletic News

Finding Keepers

Coach Fortner secures more soccer talent

FADE TO BLACK: The usual result of opponents' bid to score on Brooke Burger? The lights fade, the ball's destination denied.WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  While football’s quarterback and basketball’s point guard are two of “team sports” most valued positions, baseball’s pitcher and soccer’s goalie are the cornerstone for any team’s success. And the latter two star for the defense.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s women’s soccer team is turning the page as it enters the sixth years of its existence. Under new head coach Mandy Fortner the Lady Lions will begin the fall in search of a new goal keeper.

Tracy Griffin, who finished her career this past season, led the Red River Athletic Conference in saves the last two years. The 5’9 former keeper at Wylie High School (Wylie, Tx) kept 188 shots from crossing the goal in 17 games, and average of almost twelve per game. To show how porous the SAGU defense was last fall, consider that Griffin made 66 saves in 2009, and it still was the most of any goalie in the league.

Priority One for Coach Fortner has been obvious; defense and controlling the ball at midfield. In coming to terms with four new players for the fall, she is addressing those needs. Brooke Burger (Valley Center, Ks), Haley Shingleton (Deer Park, Tx), Aranza Frias (Rosenberg, Tx) and Daniella Ramirez (Waco, Tx) should contribute immediately for Team Lioness.

Securing a new netminder will see some impressive talent battling to be the heir to Griffin’s post between the pipes.  As the last line of defense, the keeper must guard an area that is 8 x 8. That’s eight feet high and eight yards wide.

The only returning player with GK college experience is Kendall Murders (Bolivar, Mo / Bolivar HS), though the 5’3 senior will likely give her attention to playing as a defender. That leaves the Fortner’s projection for two goalies on the active roster. But she has great news!

Two keepers recently signed their National Letter of Intent to play this fall for the Lady Lions. What once appeared as a major question mark could be the squad’s strength.

Brooke Burger, at 5’8 and 160 pounds, has been playing the position for 13 years. She is from Kenosha, Wisconsin (between Chicago and Milwaukee), though she has lived the past few years near Wichita, Kansas, where she played for Valley Center High School (Class 4A).

She registered eight shutouts and made over 100 saves for the Hornets where her dad, Jeff Burger, was the head coach. Brooke is from a family of nine, so she is familiar with competition. She earned All-Region Honorable Mention last year as well as being named to the 2nd Team in the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League (25 teams in Class 3A to 6A).

Burger is strong, tall and fearless,” Fortner said earlier in May. “She has good hands and is very vocal. I expect to see her fighting for the top spot. She will be getting time in the goal this season.

Then there is Haley Shingleton. The goalie garnered First Team All-District for Houston’s Deer Park High School. She is known for her agility and knack for the ball. Shingleton is 5-foot-4 and quick at 130.
The Stags advanced into the state playoffs before losing to Sugar Land Clements, 1-0, ending their season with a 17-4-2 mark. Under coach Todd McBride, DP was 10-0 in District 22 of Class 5A.

She is going to be a player for us,” Fortner said. “We will not be hurting in the nets with either Shingleton or Burger manning the position.

While Fortner was a prolific scorer in college, she understands the game well. “Your goalie is the last line of defense for the team. Their performance is critical. When they are at their best they can erase mistakes by the defenders and can practically win games by themselves.”

The adage about the importance of the position is summed up in this famous quote. “The goalie is like the jewel in the crown. The jewel is the most precious part of the team. To let anyone get near her is the biggest crime there is.

THE DEFENSE RESTS: Defender Aranza Frias, after signing her National Letter of Intent for Head Coach Mandy Fortner.Continuing the need for defense, Fortner was also pleased to sign Aranza Frias. She was a defender for coach Vickie Manis at Lamar Consolidated H.S. in Rosenberg, Tx. Frias was named to the All-District 46-4A First Team as a player while also earning Academic All-District honors as well.

She has medium height,” Fortner pointed out, “but don’t let that fool you! She has the tools and the potential to be a great defender. She moves the ball well and a good touch on the ball.

Fortner is especially fond of Daniella Ramirez. Her skills qualify her for a range of roles, though “she could play the middle with Jess (Jessica Powell, Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS),” according to SAGU’s new coach.

Ramirez is an in-your-face type of player,” Fortner added. “She is very quick and aggressive.” While the former Waco High School product distributes ball well to teammates, she is not afraid to blast a shot on goal. What she may lack in size she more than makes up for with a feisty spirit on the soccer pitch!

She played for Waco Lions head coach Rebecca Armstrong.

Recruiting Lady Lions

PLAYER POSITION HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT HOMETOWN
Brooke Burger Goal Keeper Velley Cednter HS Hornets Wichita, KS
Haley Shingleton Goal Keeper Deerk Park HS Stags Houston, TX
Aranza Frias Defender Lamar Consolidated HS Mustangs Rosenberg, TX
Daniella Ramirez Center-Midfielder Waco HS Lions Waco, TX

 

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