Lions are victors on Vazquez kick
Penalty Kick determines the outcome
Performance by Martinez leads SAGU to 2-1 win
SHREVEPORT, Louisiana -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s soccer team sure got over Thursday’s disappointing loss at Northwood University.
After blowing a late 2-0 lead as the Knights rallied for a stunning 3-2 setback in Cedar Hill, the Lions pulled off a huge triumph, also on the road, just two days later. This time it was SAGU who staged a come-from-behind effort, topping the Pilots by a 2-1 verdict.
SAGU traveled 180 miles to where the Texas Trail and the Red River come together in what was originally named Shreve Town. The city known as a center of steamboat commerce for cotton and agricultural crops saw the Lions blaze an upset trail behind a stellar defensive performance.
After Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress Creek HS) tied the score in the first half, the Lions scored what turned out to be the game-winner early in the second stanza.
Setting up the winning goal
Perhaps the best one-on-one match-up of the game was between Martinez, the Lions’ top scorer, and Che (pronounced Chay) Walcott , a 5’9 sophomore defender from Venezuela.
“Danny had been battling Walcott all game long,” admitted SAGU head coach Gerald Nichols. “Number 7 (Walcott) had the advantage on him for every play until then (48th minute). But Danny beat him in the box this time, and he was taken down, drawing a penalty.”
SAGU’s eldest player, senior Alex Vazquez (Waxahachie, Tx / Midwestern State Univ), was called upon to shoot the penalty kick at the 47:54 mark into the contest. “He stepped up and scored,” Nichols said of the goal. “The team has a lot of confidence in him.”
The Lions’ first goal came in the 29th minute of the ninety-minute match. Following a number of attempts to score with balls sent down the middle, SAGU played one along the sideline.
Vazquez (pictured above, #9), a midfielder, won the ball from a Pilot player on the flank. He lifted an air ball to Martinez, who took the sphere off his chest in the middle of a congested box. He turned near the penalty spot area and booted it past net-minder Carson Bath.
“It was a very nice assist and shot,” praised Nichols.
LSUS, who finished in 3rd place last season with a 9-7 mark, are without one of their better forwards, who transferred, and two other starters are ineligible. New head coach, Mike Aguilar, inherited a deep roster and high expectations. So far the Pilots have struggled to get in sync with several new offensive players.
SAGU, now 3-4-2 (won-lost-tied) overall, is 1-1 in the Red River Athletic Conference, was outshot by LSUS by a slim (18-16) margin, though they put nine of their attempts on goal, compared to just six for the River Runners.
Leaders of the Pride
Martinez and Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS, Charlotte, NC) took 5 shots apiece, while Jordan Salvato (Springfield, Tx / Central HS) fired a pair.
An effective back line of defenders; Robbie DeLeon (Dallas, Tx / First Baptist Academy), Riffin Kajangu (D.R. Congo / UNC-Greensboro), David A. Flores (San Migel, El Salvador, R.L. Turner HS, Richardson, Tx), Sam Cabrera (Tampa, Fla / Tampa Baptist) and Edward Perez (Dallas, Tx / Thomas Jefferson HS) shielded the net from the Pilots, while sophomore keeper Cesar Galvan (Dallas, Tx / Lovejoy HS) allowed one goal (26th minute) and registered five saves.
Next up for the Lions; Bacone College
The Lions will be back in uniform on Thursday, September 29, when Bacone College (2-4-1, 0-1-1 RRAC) comes to town for a 3:00pm game. It is the first of six consecutive home games for Southwestern, who play seven of their final nine at Lions Pride Park.
*Photo by Elizabeth Monsivais