Coach Nichols, Looking Ahead
Men's Soccer has much to play for
SAGU is 7-6-4 heading into home finale vs. #1 HTU
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s soccer team will be on the outside looking in when the Red River Athletic Conference tournament begins on November 10.
But the team, with plenty of wind in their sails from Saturday’s overtime win in New Mexico, has a fresh focus as they prepare for their regular season finale. Plus, they will serve as the host for next month’s *NCCAA Central Regional tournament.
The number of teams who commit to the regional will not be determined until the second week in November. Currently SAGU is ranked third in a field of about ten teams.
The Lions, with a 7-6-4 (won-lost-tied) record after receiving a forfeit win over the University of Houston at Victoria for use on an ineligible player, have one remaining game on their 2011 regular season schedule. A win or tie would give Southwestern soccer it first winning record!
New head coach Gerald Nichols commented on that game, which will be against the RRAC front-running Huston-Tillotson University Rams (13-3, 9-1 in RRAC) on “Senior Day,” October 29 at 3:00pm. He also spoke about having the regional tourney coming to Waxahachie during Nov. 17-19 as well as the exploits of two players.
Q: What is the team's approach to the regular season finale versus first-place HTU?
GN: “We plan to play our style, the same as the one we have tried to develop all year long; controlling possession, then leading to a shot. We will most likely play a 4-5-1 formation for this game.”
Q: The team has come so close this year to making the RRAC tourney, but several heart-breaking setbacks will leave the team on the outside. Your observations?
GN: “We are a young team, with ‘young team’ struggles. This will be a good learning experience of what we need to do to get better. Hopefully this year will allow future student-athletes to see the potential here at SAGU and make the program even more attractive.”
Q: What does it mean to be able to host and play in the NCCAA regional?
GN: “It is going to be a lot of work. To have a home field advantage with all the students and teachers coming to our game will be an advantage. Plus the players will get to sleep in their own beds.”
Q: Would you comment on the strengths that both junior Danny Martinez and Parker Sturgeon (freshman) have shown this season?
GN: "Danny has brought much leadership to the team. He has improved his fitness and has gotten stronger in the upper body and is able to fight off opponents very well.”
“He has a good shot and it has resulted in goals, which is what we need. As a team we have broken our most goals in a season record set in 2005 with 30.” (SID’s note: SAGU has 34 goals, and counting, this year)
"As for Parker, he is one of the best, new players we have. If he had played forward this year, he may well have the most goals on the team. As a midfielder he has been able to feed the ball to teammates who have scored. Parker is fast and has very good skill-set, which makes him dangerous.”
How SAGU players stack up
Currently, Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cy-Creek HS) leads the Lions in goals with eleven. He ranks fourth in the RRAC in goals.
Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS) is tied for the top spot in the Red River with seven assists. Salvador Avila (Irving, Tx / MacArthur HS) is tied for fifth with five, while Jonathan Ramos (Tegus, Honduras / Garringer HS, Charlotte, NC) is knotted with others at 11th with four.
*National Christian College Athletic Association