Men's soccer hosts Wiley today
Lions can add to string of wins
Martinez, Sturgeon, Vazquez are league leaders
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s soccer team will entertain Wiley College on Thursday afternoon in a 3:00pm matinee.
SAGU, with a 5-4-2 (won-lost-tied) record, enters this match in fifth place in the Red River Athletic Conference with a league mark of 3-1.
Wiley began their men’s soccer program this fall, and are playing a schedule limited to conference teams. The Wildcats are currently 0-4 and have been outscored by a 19-1 count, which is very understandable considering the youth of the team.
Veteran head coach Demetrio Hernandez is building the 'Cats during their inaugural campaign. He was previously the coach nearby Texas College, where the Steers went 7-8-2 last season. TC and Wiley will meet on October 22 in Tyler in what surely will be an interesting game.
For the Lions, the game at Pride Park will provide an opportunity for them to strengthen their position in the RRAC. SAGU has yet to finish with a winning record, and are bidding for their first-ever berth in the RRAC tournament. Only the top six teams qualify for the single-elimination event.
The RRAC tourney will take place over three days, November 3-5, at a site yet to be announced. The #6 seed will open against the #3 seed, while #4 will tangle with #5 on the first day. The top seeded squads will receive a bye before taking on the first round winners.
Previewing the Southwestern Lions
SAGU has won their last three outings; 2-1 over LSU-Shreveport, a 3-0 defeat of Bacone College, and a 5-2 triumph over Texas College. The Lions have seven games left on their schedule, five of which are at home.
Coach Gerald Nichols’ club has scored 26 goals, tied with Texas Wesleyan for most in the conference. Defensively, however, they have surrendered 22 tallies (2.0 per game), which is sixth in the 12-team league.
Individually, the Purple Pride’s junior forward, Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress Creek HS) is tied the RRAC top spot in goals scored, with nine. He has a pair of assists. The colorful Martinez (note silver shoes), leads the Red River in shots fired with 49.
Freshman Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS) has moved into the lead in assists, with five. Salvador Avila (Irving, Tx / MacArthur HS) is in second with four helpers.
One of five players in the RRAC with two game-winning goals is SAGU’s Alex Vazquez (Waxahachie, Tx / Midwestern State Univ). The veteran Vazquez resembles a swan on the field. His demeanor is smooth and his effort is flowing. Yet, under the surface he is paddling like crazy, a driven competitor.
The 5-foot-7 senior midfielder is often the catalyst in scoring runs for Southwestern. Middies help control the pace of the game, both on defense as well as fueling the offense.
Forwards who are the Lions’ chief scoring threats include Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS, Charlotte, NC), James Swearingen (Arlington, Tx / Homeschool), Jordan Salvato (Springfield, Tx / Central HS) and Martinez. All four have started, and they allow Nichols to bring two of them off the bench. Like Starbucks coffee, they bring instant offense. The foursome often provide match-up challenges for opponents.
The Lions defense is anchored by seniors Sam Cabrera (Tampa, Fla / Tampa Baptist) and David A. Flores (San Miguel, El Salvador / R.L. Turner HS, Richardson, Tx). Netminders include a pair of Cesars in Galvan (Dallas, Tx / Lovejoy HS) and Espana (Katy, Tx / Cinco Ranch HS).
Assisting Nichols this fall is a veteran player and coach in Clem Oancea (Wahn-cha).
Playing 6-in-a-row at home
SAGU, in the midst of a 6-game homestand, will host the University of St. Thomas (2-5-1, 2-2 in RRAC) on Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm. The Purple Pride is 4-2 on their home pitch this season.
The Lady Lions (2-9, 0-4) are off until October 13, when they welcome Our Lady of the Lake University to town for a 1:00pm game. That means the men’s soccer team will play lone games Thursday and Saturday (Oct. 8).
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