SAGU, Vazquez, top Bacone, 3-0
"Old-timer" sparks Lions attack
Seasoned-veteran takes kidding, delivers the goods!
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Alex Vazquez is teased endlessly by his teammates for being the eldest member on the Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s soccer team. He was called “Pops” during Thursday’s match against Bacone College.
Once, when he was knocked to the turf, a teammate kiddingly offered him a stretcher or crutches. Vazquez (Waxahachie, Tx / Midwestern State Univ), at 30, is treated as though he is as “old as the mountains,” a description by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit.
After watching him score in his third straight game, they wouldn’t want to play without him. He is respected like Gandalf the Grey by his cohorts, an ageless leader on a team filled with younger players.
His penalty kick in the 15th minute proved to be the game-winner as SAGU posted a 3-0 whitewashing of the Warriors.
Vazquez was called upon to administer a penalty kick after the Lions’ top scorer, Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress Creek HS), was taken down in the box by a Warriors defender. His right foot gave SAGU a 1-0 lead they would never relinquish.
Vazquez's highlight reel
Just over three minutes later he made a scintillating play that revealed his strengths. Like notches cut in the staff of a warrior, symbols of memorable conquests, the ”old timer” shone as brightly as the sun on this 97 degree afternoon.
From just inside midfield on the left flank, the wily veteran lifted a long pass, hooking it to a streaking Jonathan “Colocho” Ramos (Tegucilgapas, Honduras / Garringer HS, Charlotte, NC). The curly-headed sophomore controlled the pass in traffic on the center-edge of the box, before crushing a shot past the BC keeper for a 2-0 margin.
The Lions, who won their second straight, added a late (74:06 mark) tally when Jordan Salvato (Springfield, Tx / Central HS) tapped in a rebound of a shot by Martinez. The play was set-up by a drive inside by Ramos from the right.
SAGU outshot the Warriors 19-11, and could’ve broken the game wide open had shots by Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS, Charlotte, NC) and Martinez not ricocheted off the goal post. Ballah’s kick was created by a Vazquez entry pass. The two forwards each pulled the trigger on six shots.
Sophomore netminder Cesar Galvan (Dallas, Tx / Lovejoy HS) was solid between the pipes, turning away two excellent scoring chances by Bacone. His best was an aggressive move to take a shot off the foot of Guiherme Galego seconds after a hustling Riffin Kajangu (D.R. of Congo / UNC-Greensboro) arrived to defend.
The final 15 minutes of action saw head coach Gerald Nichols empty his bench, including talented backup goalie Cesar Espana (Katy, TX / Cinco Ranch HS). He registered three saves in relief of Galvan.
SAGU hosts Texas College on Saturday
The Lions will be back in action on Saturday at 3:00pm. They will welcome Texas College (1-7, 1-2 in RRAC) to Pride Park. While the Steers have been outscored 40-8 this season, they come into this game having dropped 2-1 and 1-0 setbacks to two teams who are unbeaten in Red River Athletic Conference play.
SAGU, at 4-4-2 overall and 2-1 in league games, are currently in fifth place. The top six clubs qualify for the RRAC post-season tournament, something the Lions have yet to experience.
Ahead of the 'Cats are Huston-Tillotson University (7-2, 3-0), UT-Brownsville (5-3-1, 3-0), Texas Wesleyan (5-3-1, 2-0) and Our Lady of the Lake University (4-3-1, 2-0). TWU and OLLU’s game on Thursday was called on account of lightning and rain.