Lions win, 1-0, on Sturgeon strike
Galvan, defense thwart Wiley comeback
SAGU plays at St. Thomas on Saturday
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS) scored early in the second half and a spirited defense made it hold up against a frenzied finish by Wiley College in a 1-0 triumph.
The defensive struggles the Lions have had at critical moments late in games in which they had been in complete control were avoided.
The victory, the second in a row for SAGU, evened their record at 6-6 and improved their mark in the Red River Athletic Conference to 2-3. The team also put themselves in position to re-enter the race for a berth in the RRAC tournament that is reserved for the top six teams.
Southwestern can take another step in that direction provided they earn a road win on Saturday in Houston. They will go up against the University of St. Thomas at 6:00pm with the chance to even their league mark at 3-3 heading into the final five games of the season.
Fans can follow the action, digitally, on LiveStats. The text version of the game's play-by-play, can be accessed by visiting the RRAC website at http://www.redriverconference.com/ In the right column Scoreboard, scroll down to locate the game under Men's Soccer, anc click on Live Stats.
St. Thomas battled Huston-Tillotson University to a 1-1, double overtime draw on Thursday. HTU is the RRAC’s top ranked team and the defending champion.
Review of Thursday's Game
Their possession game in full display for most of the game, the Lions forced the visiting Wildcats to play an unwilling version of keep-away. The Purple Pride parlayed their attack into a handful of high quality scoring opportunities.
In the game’s 27th minute, Sturgeon uncorked a blast from 27 yards away that had beaten the 'Cats keeper. Taken on a pass from his right, the sophomore sent a shot through a seam that missed the upper-left corner by a foot. He would make amends.
A minute before intermission came a pair of chances rarely unexploited.
Head Coach Clem Oancea had inserted Joel Ramirez (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) in the closing minutes for this speed and energy. The forward made a quick impact.
Ramirez drove the right side and sent a perfect left cross to a double-teamed Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cy-Creek HS). The marked man one-timed a shot into an open net that was deflected by a defender’s leaping header.
In a maddening scramble for the carom, Martinez attracted the ball like a mighty oak does lightning. The senior sent another point-blank bid bound for glory, only to have another defender raise a leg to thwart a certain tally.
A scoreless first half saw only one Wiley chance. Team captain Pedro Jurno, a Brazilian, got past Ben Cole (Austin, Tx / McNeil HS) on the left. He triggered a laser that Cole forced at a sharp angle. Cesar Galvan (Dallas, Tx / Lovejoy HS) gobbled it up with a waist-high reception.
Parking in the corner
What turned out to be the game-winner was set up by another Lions attack. Facing the north end of the pitch, a holding foul was called on a Wildcat defender on the right side of the box at 18-yards.
Oancea (WAHN-cha) summoned Sturgeon to take the resulting direct kick. "It's yours, Parker," he shouted. "Parker! Take it!"
And he did.
He lined up against a Wiley wall and a cast of players who mirrored Lions like shadows.
Sturgeon aired a drive that hooked beyond an outstretched Lorenzo Munoz high into the left corner that had previously escaped him. Riddle solved at 53:06 into the contest, Southwestern set out to protect the narrowest of leads.
First, they had a few moments to add to the margin. Each went begging.
A Robert Ambrosie (Iasi, Romania / Richard Wurmbrand HS) cross to Martinez was converted into an errant shot on the right. Later, Sturgeon narrowly missed the left post.
Failing to finish left the Lions in a lurch.
Keeping the Cats at bay
Wiley spent the final twenty minutes peppering the box with frantic attempts to create the equalizer. James Swearingin (Arlington, Tx / Home School) broke up two advances with clearing kicks.
Jurno, Leonardo Saurit and Cameroon’s Tshe (TEE-shee) Cyrille each triggered shots that proved Galvan was up to the task. Trusting his nose for the ball, he was a hunting dog on his game.
After missing the past two games, David Flores (San Miguel, El Salvador; Farmers Branch, Tx/ RL Turner HS) didn’t play until the closing minutes. He was sent as a sortie into the Wildcats closing raid. He delivered, helping to muffle their attack.
The game’s biggest play came with six minutes remaining. Gaining a step on the back line, Jurno sped around the left side. He blistered a shot (from 12-yards) for the right post. Once again the cat-quick Galvan was up to the task. Gloving the mortar about chest-high, he denied the best of what Wiley could muster.
Donning Tar-Heel colored threads, Galvan was 'true blue' with the game on the line. He finished with a dozen saves and his first shutout this season. His goals against average dropped to 1.61.
The RRAC’s highest scoring team had maximized a lone goal against a defense that has held seven of nine opponents to two goals or less.
Sturgeon 'bears' down as season heats up
The former Bartlesville "Bruin," Sturgeon now has five goals and three assists (13 points). He trails only Martinez and Lee Kounas (Dallas, Tx / Townview HS), each with 15 points. Hot of late, he is tops on the team in both shots and shots on goal.
The focused forward now ranks eighth in the RRAC in points and is fourth in goals scored. Southwestern has three of the league's top five in goals scored.
Kounas spent the day the target of defenders who knocked him down on a half dozen occasions. Each time, however, he rose to his feet, ready but worn for more.
Wiley finished with a 19-14 advantage in shots and held a 15-9 measure in fouls.