Lions unhappy in scoreless tie
Winless Wiley scratches out stalemate
SAGU outshoots the Wildcats, 32-10
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The unpopularity of ties in American sports is reflected in the saying, "A tie is like kissing your sister." The earliest known use of the phrase was by Navy football coach Eddie Erdelatz after a scoreless tie against Duke in 1953.
Thursday afternoon’s men’s soccer match between Wiley College and Southwestern Assemblies of God University finished in a scoreless draw after the end of two 45-minute halves. Officials added a pair of 10-minute, sudden-death overtime periods with neither producing a goal.
The 0-0 deadlock brought celebration and glad-handing by the visitors from Marshall, Texas while the host Lions treated it very much like a defeat.
SAGU entered the game on a roll, winners of three straight. Wiley, in their first season of play, were winless and had been outscored 19-1 in their limited schedule.
“We fought hard,” exclaimed the Wildcats head coach, Demetrio Hernandez. “We had to fight hard. We haven’t won a game!”
SAGU dominates, frustrates
The Lions controlled the ball throughout, dominating through stretches of the match. In fact, SAGU held a 32-10 advantage in shots, including 19-4 in shots on goal.
The Wildcats, with a roster of 17 freshmen and eight internationals, battled from one end of the pitch to the other. At times they appeared to be scrambling just to fend off the onslaught of shots sent towards the goal by the favored Lions.
An early blast off the foot of Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS, Charlotte, NC) smacked directly off the right post loud enough to be heard across Pride Park. Kicks, boots and headers were either awry, deflected, saved or in the case of eight shots, rolled within inches of scoring as they went whistling past the post.
There were more oohs and ahhs from Southwestern fans than heard at a fireworks show.
The more the Lions misfired, the more confident the Wildcats grew. Too often players settled for long attempts rather than higher percentage shots. SAGU played without offensive orchestrator Alex Vazquez (Waxahachie, Tx / Midwestern State Univ), who sat the game out with a hamstring injury. Still, the Lions had an endless list of scoring bids.
Adding to SAGU’s mounting frustration was a season-high of 17 cornerkicks. Increasingly the team with the highest scoring offense in the Red River Athletic Conference didn’t finish scoring attempts. By overtime, however, the Wildcats were playing with such a galvanized spirit that their league-worst defense appeared impenetrable.
Match highlights for Lions
Some of the game’s highlights included; Salvador Avila (Irving, Tx / MacArthur HS) missing a direct kick from the edge of the penalty box at the ten minute mark. Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS), who had a standout game, had a shot from seven yards glance off of a defender and ricochet wide of the post.
Ballah and James Swearingen (Arlington, Tx / Homeschool) each fired bazooka shots that goalie Cesar Ponce saved.
Ballah received a pass in front of the goal (18 yards out) and took too long maneuvering for a better shot, losing the ball in a triple team. It prompted Assistant Coach Clem Oancea (Wahn-cha) to yell, “Just put ‘em away!”
The Wildcats teetered on the edge all afternoon, yet stayed in the game with a brand of hustle that was admirable.
Much of the Wiley’s defensive energy was spent guarding Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cy-Creek HS), the top goal-scorer in the RRAC. He was tailed by a pair of Wildcats so closely they resembled gumshoed detectives on Criminal Minds.
He took a pass from Robbie DeLeon (Dallas, Tx / First Baptist Academy), spun through a double-team, only to miss to the left by less than a foot. Back-to-back headers by Manny Paz (Houston, Tx / Westfield HS) and Ballah on cornerkicks missed the mark late in regulation.
Martinez had the lone, quality scoring chance in the first overtime session. His header on a Ramos corner was caught by Ponce. He took a shot to the left that went begging in the second OT.
Sturgeon went fishing for three wanna-be whoppers in the closing minutes. His bid on a DeLeon pass missed left. He directed a kick past a diving keeper but it swayed by the right post. Finally, he blasted a shot from 12 yards with 0:27 left that Ponce latched hold of.
It signalled an end to a match that saw the Lions pepper the goal mouth with shots without ever tickling the twine.
In 12 games this season, the shutout was just the second for SAGU, who have scored two or more goals nine times.
Southwestern hosts St. Thomas on Saturday
SAGU (5-4-3, 3-1-1 in RRAC) will return to action on Saturday afternoon when they host Houston’s University of St. Thomas for a 3:00pm contest. UST is new to the RRAC. The Celts (pronounced Kelts) have an overall record of 2-6-1 and are 2-3 in the conference.
Thursday night they lost in double OT, 2-1, to league-leader Huston-Tillotson (9-2, 5-0 in RRAC). Last week the Celts defeated LSU-Shreveport, 4-2, and Northwood University by a 2-0 count.