Missed PK looms large in 1-0 Lions loss
SAGU needs rebound in final five games
Crucial So.Texas road trip coming this week
HOUSTON, Texas -- The game’s only goal, coming in the 75th minute, proved to be just enough as the University of St. Thomas defeated Southwestern Assemblies of God University on Saturday night at the soccer complex of the Houston Dynamo.
The Celts were awarded a free kick following a Lions foul. Taken from the right side, a cross was booted to the front post, where the ball was headed past the SAGU goalie for the lone score of the evening. The header was from five yards out.
Southwestern had a golden opportunity moments earlier.
Freshman forward Joel Ramirez (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) made a dash towards the back post. Robert Ambrosie (Iasi, Romania / Richard Wurmbrand HS) sent an angled pass to him that was deflected by a defender’s hand. The ensuing hand-ball foul call resulted in a Lions’ penalty kick.
Normally a very high percentage scoring chance, SAGU’s top scorer, Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cy-Creek HS) fired to the left and within range of the 6’5 keeper.
St. Thomas' Jason Taffet made a good save according to SAGU Assistant Coach Alex Vazquez. It was the second time the Lions missed a PK this season.
“Our guys played very good soccer,” said Lions Head Coach Clem Oancea. “We held (possessed) the ball well, but couldn’t finish (scoring) plays.”
The coach said he switched to a 3-4-3 attack after the UST goal. “We had them on their heels, but we couldn’t find the net,” he confessed.
Southwestern fell to 6-7 overall and are now 2-4 in the Red River Athletic Conference. The Purple Pride slid to eighth place and is now two games behind the sixth place team in the loss column with five games to play.
The squad has struggled against teams in the cellar, including St. Thomas. The Celts picked up their first league win to improve to 3-7-1 overall and 1-4-1 against the RRAC. A year ago they booted two goals in the closing 15 minutes to edge the Lions in Waxahachie, 2-1.
Last week the Pride dropped a 2-1, double overtime decision at Bacone College. The Warriors are 1-11 and 1-5.
SAGU has suffered four losses by one goal
The stretch run has a row of tough opponents on the near horizon. SAGU will need to make up for their recent slump, losing four of their last six, by defeating some teams currently ahead of them.
Their final five matches include:
October 11 @ Our Lady of the Lake (7-4-1, 6-0 RRAC), 1:00pm
October 13 @ Texas at Brownsville (6-3-3, 5-1 RRAC), 1:00pm
October 18 vs. Texas Wesleyan (5-4-2, 4-1-1 RRAC), 1:00pm
October 20 vs. Southwest (4-6-1, 3-3 RRAC), 3:00pm
October 27 @ Huston-Tillotson (5-0-4, 3-0-3 RRAC), 1:00pm
Four of the quintet have lost just once or have yet to lose to anyone in league action.
Qualifying for a berth in the RRAC tournament, which the top six finishers do, is a goal that, if reached, will well-prepare the Lions for the rigors of life in the post-season.
The final two home games are against Texas Wesleyan and University of the Southwest. Seniors and their parents will be honored at the USW game, which will also be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live.
The Lions have just two seniors, Danny Martinez and David Flores (San Miguel, El Salvador / RL Turner HS), two juniors, eight sophomores and seven freshmen.