Men's Soccer falls to UST, 2-1
Sturgeon-to-Martinez hook-up scores again
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The men’s soccer team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University took a 1-0 lead into the second half against the University of St. Thomas. It was almost enough to salvage a tie. The visiting Celts spoiled an energetic effort by SAGU with a tie-breaking goal in the 85th minute to claim a 2-1 triumph at Pride Park.
The Lions scored the game’s first goal when the team’s most effective combination teamed-up in the 29th minute. Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS) sent a perfect entry pass to Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress Creek HS). Martinez advanced a few steps to the 10 yard mark near the left post.
He beat the St. Thomas keeper, the 6’5 Jason Taffet , with a deftly placed kick to the right.
The Lions and Celts (pronounced Kelts) exchanged scoring bids during the first half, with UST managing a 55-45 edge in ball control. However, it was the Lions who had the most quality scoring opportunities. That they couldn’t finish and extend their lead came back to haunt them after intermission.
One of the Celts’ best chances came early, when Jamaican Delano Foster got open inside. A through ball had him set-up, one-on-one with sophomore goalie Cesar Galvan (Allen, Tx / Lovejoy HS). Galvan stepped out to reduce the angle for Foster, who fired a point blank blast just seven yards from the netminder. Galvan stonewalled him.
The Lions had a few attempts to score turned away by an impressive St. Thomas defense. Sam Cabrera (Tampa, Fla / Tampa Baptist) bounced a header that missed the left post after Alex Vazquez (Mexico City, Mex / Midwestern State Univ) hooked an indirect kick to him inside the box.
Martinez, whose 10 goals are tied for the league lead, lifted a pass to Rolando Hernandez (Hidalgo, Mex / Garringer HS, Charlotte, NC). With his back to the goal, the sophomore midfielder tried a bicycle kick that didn’t reach the keeper.
Another chance was snuffed out by Taffet. A Sturgeon cornerkick was converted into a header off the noggin of Martinez. Taffet snared the would-be goal near the left post.
The Lions appeared to tire down the stretch, perhaps the effects of the double-overtime draw against Wiley College on Thursday. Close games have not been kind to SAGU this season.
Vying to qualify for the RRAC tournament
St. Thomas began the season with an 0-5-1 record. They hit the road and won three of four, all against teams ahead of them in the RRAC. They stunned Northwood University, 2-0, and then doubled-up on LSU-Shreveport by a 4-2 count. The first place Huston-Tillotson Rams slipped past them in double overtime, 2-1.
The come-from-behind triumph against SAGU has renewed the Kelts’ season at 3-6-1. Their 3-3 league mark gives them hope for a stretch run. Four of their final five RRAC games are at home.
On deck for the Lions; key home game this week
Southwestern has two home games next week. After a winless week against Wiley College (0-5-1) and St. Thomas, the Lions will have their hands full with Our Lady of the Lake University (7-3-1, 5-0 in RRAC) on Thursday and UT-Brownsville (7-3-2, 5-0-1).
The match with OLLU begins at 3:00pm, while the clash with UTB is set for 1:00pm on Saturday.
The top six teams in the Red River qualify for the conference tournament, something the Lions have not reached in their young history. SAGU will face four solid teams during their final five contests. Challenging, yes. But a prime opportunity to show their mettle and that they belong.
After OLLU and UTB, they are on the road against Texas Wesleyan (6-4-2 / 3-1-1) and University of the Southwest (1-9-1 / 0-5-1) before closing at home against Tillotson (10-2, 6-0).
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