Lions nipped, 3-2, on late goal
Martinez, Avila score equalizer goals
Best-ever campaign leaves team hungry for 2012 encore
KISSIMMEE, Florida -- The best season in school history came to a close today on a beautiful South Florida day for the men’s soccer team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
The Lions came up a goal short of Indiana’s Grace College, 3-2, on a sun-drenched 75 degree day in this Orlando suburb. The consolation match finished SAGU’s year at 10-9-5 in which they qualified for the National Christian College Athletic Association’s 8-team national tournament.
Coach Gerald Nichols, Jr. led a young and talented unit to its first winning mark, and then stunned the field by winning the NCCAA’s Central Region with a 3-0 run against higher seeded teams. Should SAGU add a few key players, this group could accomplish even more next season!
Trailing 1-0 in the second half, Southwestern scored the equalizer when junior striker Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cy-Creek HS) converted a pass from Jonathan “Colocho” Ramos (Tegucilgapas, Honduras / Garringer HS, Charlotte, NC) from six yards out. The sophomore midfielder continues to develop, and is known for his energy on both offense and defense.
The Lions could’ve added a huge goal later, but sophomore forward Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS, Charlotte, NC) missed a penalty kick. After a second tally by the Lancers (10-9-4), the Purple Pride battled back to knot the score at 2-2.
Salvador Avila (Irving, Tx / MacArthur HS) deposited the ball into the net at the 75th minute. During a frenzied moment when the ball was bouncing around a crowded goalmouth, the 5’11 freshman midfielder put it away with a blast past a defenseless keeper.
Grace won the game with a late goal in the final five minutes.
The Lancers fell to the #2 seed, Palm Beach Atlantic University, 5-3, on Thursday, a day after a tough, 3-2 defeat at the hands of Judson University (Illinois) in double overtime.
SAGU fell to the top-seed and eventual champion, California Baptist University, 3-0, on Wednesday. The Lancers led 1-0 at the half on a fluke goal, and then added a penalty kick for a solid 2-0 advantage.
The Lions fought Oakland City University (Indiana) to a 2-2 draw after surrendering a 2-0 lead to the Mighty Oaks. Sam Cabrera (Tampa, Fla / Tampa Baptist) tallied on a Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS) cornerkick at 63:30.
The Pride leveled the scoreboard when Rolando Hernandez (Hidalgo, Michoacan; Mex / Garringer HS, Charlotte, NC) cashed in thanks to a Martinez assist at 76:29 for a 2-2 score.
After two OT sessions, the Oaks outscored SAGU 5-3 in a penalty kick shootout to advance.
The Lions made their first three kicks by Ramos, Will Elliot (Mesquite, TX / Cathedral of Life Christian School) and a sharp laser by Alex Vazquez (Mexico City, Mex / Midwestern State Univ).
The season showed great progress by the team, laying a foundation that could see even greater achievements in 2012.
#7 Geneva College 1-0 over #2 Palm Beach Atlantic University
#3 Judson University 3-2 over #6 Grace College in 2 OT’s
#1 California Baptist University 3-0 over SW Assemblies of God University
#4 Cedarville University 2-0 over #5 Oakland City University
#2 Palm Beach Atlantic University 5-3 over #6 Grace College
#5 Oakland City University 2-2 ties SW Assemblies of God Univ; OCU advances in PK’s, 5-3
#7 Geneva College 2-1 over #3 Judson University in OT
#1 California Baptist University 0-0 ties #4 Cedarville University; CBU advances in PK’s, 2-1
Seventh Place: #6 Grace College (11-9-4) defeats #8 SW Assemblies of God Univ (10-9-5), 3-2
Fifth Place: #2 Palm Beach Atlantic University (13-8-1) ties #5 Oakland City University (11-6-3), 1-1, advances on PKs, 4-2
Third Place: #4 Cedarville University (14-6-3) ties #3 Judson University (14-9-2), 1-1, advances on PKs, 4-3
Finals: #1 California Baptist Univ (17-5-1) defeats #7 Geneva College (16-6-3), 2-1