Lions in consolation soccer match
SAGU seeks fairy-tale ending
Saturday contest vs. Grace College not broadcast
KISSIMMEE, Florida -- Adventureland is a far-off region of the world at Orlando’s Disney World. In reality, it describes the exciting quest of the men’s soccer team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. On Saturday their 2011 escapades come to an end.
The Lions will play a consolation match at 11:15am (CST) against Grace College (Ind). After winning the Central Region two weeks ago, the team advanced to the NCCAA Nationals for the first time in school history.
Even after a pair of setbacks on Wednesday and Thursday, the Lions remain excited to play their final chapter in the Cats’ caper.
Or, as the late screenwriter H.C. Witmer once said, they’re as “enthusiastic as a three-headed cat in a creamery.”
SAGU fell to the #1 seed California Baptist University, 3-0, in their opener. The following day they rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie Oakland City University (Ind) 2-2. The teams played a pair of scoreless overtime periods before deciding who would advance in a penalty kick shootout. The Mighty Oaks edged the Lions by a 5-3 count.
Saturday’s winner will take 7th place in the 8-team tourney and is the only game during the event that will not be broadcast over the internet.
About the Grace Lancers
Grace (10-9-4) is the 6th seed. They lost in overtime, 3-2, to #3 Judson University (Ill) before a 5-3 setback against the defending champion and #2 seed Palm Beach Atlantic University the next day.
The Lancers led in both matches, 2-1.
They have outscored their opponents by a 43-37 margin, finished 5th in the Mid-Central College Conference. Taylor University (Ind), ranked 17th in the NAIA, won the title with a 19-2-1 mark. Bethel College (12-6-1) (Ind) finished second.
Grace was an at-large qualifier into the 8-team nationals. They tied Bethel at regionals, 0-0, and advanced on PK’s, 5-4. In the final they also drew with Cedarville University (Oh), 0-0, but it was the Yellowjackets who won the title by virtue of a 4-2 win on PK’s.
The Lancers top four goal scorers are Shane Barthuly (9 goals, 8 assists), Austin Altimus (9, 3), Adam Kitchens (7, 5) and Aaron Zuercher (6, 1). Collin Cone is expected to start between the pipes.
About the SAGU Lions
SAGU (10-8-5) is led by Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress-Creek HS) and Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS) in goals and assists. Martinez (14 goals) and Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS, Charlotte, NC) are the club’s chief scoring threats as stikers.
Parker, a freshman, is a splendid passer and a fierce competitor. Rolando Hernandez (Hidalgo, Michoacan; Mex / Garringer HS, Charlotte, NC), Alex Vazquez (Mexico City, Mex / Midwestern State Univ) and Jonathan Ramos (Tegucigalpa, Honduras / Garringer HS, Charlotte, NC) are dangerous as scorers or catalysts.
The Lions will need to start someone in place of defender and captain Sam Cabrera (Tampa, Fla / Tampa Baptist). The senior picked up two yellow cards in the last game and will be forced to sit out the final contest of his career.
Coach Gerald Nichols, Jr. will likely put either Eddie Rezo Perez (Dallas, Tx / Thomas Jefferson HS) or Robbie Deleon (Dallas, Tx / First Baptist Academy), both freshman, in Cabrera’s shoes.
He could also opt to infuse the offense by putting a forward, Ballah or James Swearingin (Arlington, Tx / Home School) in the line-up.
Sophomore goalkeeper Cesar Galvan (Allen, Tx / Lovejoy HS) will be the SAGU netminder.
Southwestern has scored 54 goals and allowed 41.
The match will be played at the Austin-Tindall Regional Park.
The Lions will have a special cheering section on hand as the Lady Lions volleyball team, who competed in the NCCAA National tournament, will show their support. Also, Terry Phipps, SAGU Vice President for Student Services, traveled with the teams.