Lions host Rams at 1:00pm today
Soccer team has their backs to the wall
"Must-win" situation for tournament berth
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The men’s soccer season is winding down for Southwestern Assemblies of God University. Even with some disappointing results this fall, the Lions maintain the ability to create their own finish during the final three games.
SAGU is 6-9 in all games and 2-6 versus competition from the Red River Athletic Conference. They had hoped to be a contender this season after a promising 10-9-5 mark a year ago.
However, the Lions’ destiny is largely in their hands.
Finishing in the RRAC’s top six would earn them a berth in the conference tournament in November. They are presently tied in eighth with Bacone College (2-12, 2-6 in RRAC).
Having dropped their last three games, the Lions need two or possibly three wins in their closing games to receive a tourney bid. Each game will carry a make-or-break scenario, starting this afternoon.
Today they play host to Texas Wesleyan University at 1:00pm. The Rams are in third place with a 6-1-1 record against the league and are 7-4-2 overall.
Head Coach Clem Oancea understands the challenges facing his team.
“There are three games left in the season and we are looking at every one as a playoff,” he said. “We are in charge of our own destiny, as we have been all season long.”
“When you have a young team,” he pointed out, “it is important to learn to be patient and not force things. (That way) every game we can learn something, and then the lessons will continue.”
SAGU has a talented yet youthful roster consisting of 16 freshmen and sophomores.
“Hopefully our guys will believe in their own abilities and trust in each other’s strengths – more than we have of late. That will be sufficient to move up in the standings.”
The Lions have an 0-6-1 mark against the Rams that dates back to 2005. Before the team can win three games in a row, they must begin by winning one. This afternoon’s match will require a solid match, primarily on defense.
Both SAGU and Wesleyan have scored the same number of goals (29), but the Lions' porous back line has surrendered 38 goals. The Rams have allowed (19) half of that total.
Positives heading into the game are the team’s health and the location of the game: at home.
“We are surprisingly healthy,” said Alex Vazquez, the Assistant Coach. “You expect to have players out but not in our case. We have everyone available (health wise).”
“We must make these games like a three-game playoff. Focus on one game at a time and try to win each one,” he surmised. “For us to make the NCCAA Regional tournament, I think we need to win one more. For the RRAC, we need at least two. We are battling the teams that are directly in front of us. So by beating them we can catch them.”
“We have proven that we can compete in every game. Now it's time to be consistent in our performance,” Coach Oancea (WAHN-cha) concluded.
Final two games on Saturdays; Oct. 20 and Oct. 27
The team’s final home game is at 2:00pm Saturday against New Mexico’s University of the Southwest (6-6-1, 5-3 in RRAC). The Mustangs have won their last two games but are 0-5 on the road.
SAGU will honor their three seniors on Saturday; David Flores (San Miguel, El Salvador / RL Turner HS, Richardson, Tx), Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cy-Creek HS) and James Swearingin (Arlington, Tx / Home School).
The home finale will also be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live. The pre-game show comes on the air following the women's noon game. Player Spotlights on Cesar Galvan (Dallas, Tx / Lovejoy HS) and Jonathan Ramos (Tegucigalpa, Honduras / Garringer HS) will air at halftime.
The Lions will close the regular season next week in Austin. They will take on Huston-Tillotson University (5-2-4, 3-2-3 in RRAC), the pre-season favorites in the Red River, on Saturday, October 27, at 1:00pm.