Lions shutout in plain view
Quick 3-0 deficit dooms Lions
Minus Martin, Swearingin, offense toils
PLAINVIEW, Texas -- When Johnny Mathis sang “Chances are your chances are awfully good” decades ago, he wasn’t describing the scenario in the Texas Panhandle on Wednesday evening.
Playing without two starters, including the scoring leader in the Red River Athletic Conference, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s soccer team took on Wayland Baptist University.
The Lions’ chances weren’t very good at all.
Played in an early downpour, the host Pioneers scored three goals in just over five minutes as Wayland rolled to a convincing 4-0 triumph. When the sun came out and conditions deteriorating, the outcome was in plain view.
A year ago the Lions thumped Wayland in Waxahachie with a 4-1 verdict.
With Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cy-Creek HS) sidelined with an injury suffered in the upset loss to Louisiana College, the offense struggled like a fish on a line. No one was able to cut loose and fill the void.
James Swearingin (Arlington, Tx / Home School), an attacking defender, was also out of action. The Lions had little chance of navigating through the mire against the unbeaten Pioneers.
"We came out strong and determined, and that gave us confidence," Wayland coach Jamath Shoffner said on the WBU website.
Wayland, now 4-0, established a three-goal advantage in less than twenty-five minutes. It is the second straight defensive breakdown by a SAGU unit that has been yielding easy goals.
Turnovers have cost dearly. In the rain on Wednesday the ‘Cats allowed a header on a free kick to put the game out of reach at 3-0.
The Pioneers, who were 7-9-3 a year ago, and 10-38-3 over the previous three seasons, had little trouble with Southwestern. On top of their game, they racked up 20 shots while permitting only four.
For goalie John-Ramses Thomas, who had just two saves, it was his third shutout in Wayland’s four games.
"We had a lot of chances to score, we just need to capitalize on those. Overall, I thought we played well at times," Shoffner said. "SAGU worked hard. They didn't lose fight, so hats off to those guys."
Lions’ talented left winger Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS) was the only frontline player to register a shot or shot on goal.
When his game is on, few can rival the sophomore’s productivity. In 2011 he scored 18 points, highlighted by 10 assists, a category in which he ranked second in the RRAC.
Salvador “Chava” Avila (Irving, Tx / MacArthur HS), a midfielder, had a shot, and defender David A. Flores (San Miguel, El Salv., Farmers Branch, Tx/ RL Turner HS) collected the squad’s other two shots.
Meanwhile, Wayland launched twenty shots, nine of them on goal. Their bench owned a 10-0 advantage in shots against their SAGU counterparts. Overall, the Pioneers had a huge 10-1 edge in cornerkicks.
Perhaps the 370-mile trip earlier in the day took its toll. The club returned home following the game, completing a long, 740-miles in the team's charter bus.
The Lions are now 2-3 and have been shutout twice. In 2011 the Purple Pride were blanked just twice in their first 22 games.
On deck: UH-Victoria at home on Saturday
SAGU will meet the University of Houston at Victoria on Saturday at 4:00pm. The return of Martinez and Swearingin is uncertain.
The Jaguars are 3-4. They are in Odessa on Thursday to play UT-Permian Basin (1-1).
Last year the Jags had a 6-10-1 record, though five of their defeats were forfeited wins.
The NAIA's new Top 25 Coaches Poll was released on Tuesday. Defending national champion, Lindsey Wilson College (Ky), is at the top at 6-0.
They have now won 29 straight games after whitewashing Campbellsville University (4-2), 4-0, on Wednesday night.
The Blue Raiders win streak is the second longest in the NAIA record books, trailing only Hastings College's (Neb) 39, which was set just a year ago.
The Red River Athletic Conference has two teams receiving votes; #15 UT-Brownsville (1-0-3) and #40 Huston-Tillotson University (1-0-1).
Southwestern began the season at #13 in the National Christian College Athletic Association. They had slid to #36 before the loss to Wayland.