Men's Soccer has eyes on tourney
Lions can enter with pair of wins
Final 3-games begin against Texas Wesleyan on Thursday
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The regular season is heading into its final two weeks and the men’s soccer team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University remains in the race to enter the Red River Athletic Conference tournament. With twelve teams in the league, just the top six land a spot in the single-elimination tourney in early November.
Two weeks ago the Lions were in control of their destiny with a 3-1 mark in the RRAC. Their good play has continued, but their ability to finish would-be wins has hindered them. With three remaining contests, however, they can still recover and qualify. It would be the school’s first-ever journey into the RRAC’s big event.
The Lions, 0-2-2 of late, are in eighth place. They are as close to 5th as the fingernail is to the quick.
SAGU, 5-6-4 (won-lost-tied) overall and 3-3-2 in the Red River, needs to win twice to remain in contention. Their schedule is not easy, but they are still in the conversation at a point when they are usually making plans to go to grandmas for Thanksgiving.
On Thursday night they travel 45 minutes west to Fort Worth to take on Texas Wesleyan University. The Rams are in fourth place at 7-5-2 in all games and 4-2-1 against RRAC teams. The 7:30pm match will be played at Martin Field (directions below).
The Rams are perhaps the league’s most-improved team, having finished just 4-13 last fall. They have won the past three meetings against SAGU, claiming a 1-0 triumph in 2010, 4-1 in 2009 and 3-0 in 2008.
Southwestern has one of the league’s more potent offenses, ringing up 32 goals, two more than first place Huston-Tillotson University. The defense has been their Achilles heel, allowing 30, including several critical leads. Wesleyan has scored 33 and yielded 21. Eight times the Rams have permitted opponents to score one goal or less.
The Lions score 2.07 goals per game, which is tied with Tillotson, and yield 1.87, good for seventh.
Individually, Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cy-Creek HS) is third in scoring with 10 goals and two assists. The junior forward leads the conference in shots on goal (46) and in total shots (68).
Freshman Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok, Bartlesville HS), has taken over the league lead in assists with seven. The southpaw has sent more hooks into the box than a professional fisherman.
The Lions travel on Friday for a Saturday afternoon contest in Hobbs, New Mexico against the University of the Southwest. The Mustangs are 2-10-1 overall and 1-6-1 in the RRAC. The Lions won last year’s meeting with a 2-1 verdict.
SAGU closes the regular season on October 29 with a huge home date. Huston-Tillotson (12-2, 8-0 in RRAC) visits Pride Park on Senior Day. A win or draw that afternoon could vault the Purple Pinstripers into the tourney.
Southwestern set to host NCCAA Soccer Regional
The National Christian College Athletic Association, with over 50 members, will hold the Central Region men’s tournament at the Lions’ Pride Park on the weekend of November 17-19. Four to eight teams will compete for a berth at nationals.
That event will take place in Orlando (Kissimmee, Fla), November-December 4 at the Austin-Tindale Soccer Complex.
Former SAGU head coach, Aaron DeLoach, is now an assistant coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University, who are the defending NCCAA national champions. The Sailfish defeated Southeastern University (4-9 record) 1-0 to improve to 6-6 this season.
Directions to Fort Worth’s Martin Field: About two miles east of downtown. From Interstate Highway 30: Exit Beach Street. Travel south on Beach, then take a left on Lancaster Avenue (State Hwy. 180). Martin Field will be on your right side less than a mile from Beach Street.
Current RRAC Men’s Soccer Standings
Huston-Tillotson 12-2, 8-0
UT-Brownsville 8-4-2, 6-1-1
Our Lady of the Lake 8-4-2, 5-1-1
Texas Wesleyan 7-5-2, 4-2-1
Northwood 7-7, 5-3
St. Thomas 5-6-1, 5-3
LSU-Shreveport 5-8, 4-4
SAGU 5-6-4, 3-3-2
Bacone College 4-9-1, 1-6-1
Univ of Southwest 2-10-1, 1-6-1
Texas College 1-12, 1-7
Wiley College 0-7-1, 0-7-1
First numbers represent overall record; followed by record against RRAC teams.