Tied 2-2, Lions stampeded in 5-2 loss
Martinez scores twice on Senior Day
SAGU season finale next week at HTU
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The toughest part of the men’s soccer season is nearing an end for Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
Following Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at the hands of the University of the Southwest, the Lions’ 11-game conference season is down to a final game next week. A current 5-game losing skid has eliminated them from all consideration for post-season play.
Facing a must-win situation against the visiting Mustangs, SAGU needed to claim victories in their final two games to have a chance at both the Red River Athletic Conference tournament and the National Christian College Athletic Association’s Central Regional in Denver.
Tied at 2-2 in an entertaining game through 70-minutes, they allowed three quick goals in just over ten minutes.
The Lions overall record dropped to 6-11 while their mark against RRAC competition slid to 2-8. The disappointing finish comes a year after the team’s first-ever winning season at 10-9-5. The club went 4-5-2 in the RRAC.
The conference season has been tough in recent years. Excluding last fall, SAGU has posted a 4-34-2 ledger in the previous five campaigns in the Red River.
Defensive breakdowns have proven costly, with five RRAC losses coming in the closing twenty minutes. Behind a young team with 16 freshmen and sophomores, the future is bright.
The game saw a healthy Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress Creek HS) performing spectacularly, much to the delight of an appreciating home crowd.
As the defending scoring champion of the RRAC, the senior had battled a badly sprained ankle over the past three weeks.
He scored twice and narrowly missed several others to raise his season total to nine goals.
After allowing a goal just five minutes into the game, Martinez knotted the score at 1-1. A right cross from freshman Lee Kounas (Dallas, Tx / Townview HS) connected with the forward in the middle of the goal-mouth.
As the defense and goalie reacted to the left, Martinez snapped a header just inside the right post at the 15:12 mark.
Sixth in the nation in goals, Jorge Orona, a 5’9 sophomore from El Paso, scored the first of his three goals on a penalty kick at 29:04. He was tripped from behind in the box, drawing the spot kick.
Twice in a five minute span before the half, Martinez had chances to score the equalizer. Another Kounas pass, coming on a direct kick from the right side, was bonked by his cranium. It sailed wide right.
With 8:32 left in the half, Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS), playing his best in weeks, hooked a cornerkick to a crowd near the goal. Martinez rose above the pack and sent a header that was denied.
In the opening minute of the second stanza Martinez took a short pass just over midfield, and dashed in on goalie Isaac Wilkins. The freshman keeper charged out to reduce the scoring angle as Martinez approached at a rapid rate.
A nifty move at the edge of the box coaxed Wilkins to dive ahead. Martinez then went left to go around for a wide-open net.
Just as he was about to boot the ball, Wilkins reached out his right arm and remarkably pulled the ball away as though snatching an egg from a fox.
After Nathan Dyke (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) shot a pass to Will Elliott (Mesquite, Tx / Cathedral of Praise) on the left wing, the latter gunned a 30-yard mortar that whistled a foot past the left upright in the 57th minute.
Martinez cashed in again seconds later. Jonathan Ramos (Tegucigalpa, Honduras / Garringer HS ) poked a through-ball that Martinez broke into the clear to retrieve. He raced in on Wilkins and made no mistake about this occasion.
He juked the goalie, then launched a missile that made the netting resemble a handkerchief during a powerful sneeze! Game tied.
The Mustangs, on their heels, got a reprieve while a SAGU player disputed an official’s call. Distracted, the Lions were caught flatfooted on the ensuing inbounds pass from the left.
Orona quickly zipped a low liner across the crease that Jordan Smith redirected past SAGU keeper Cesar Galvan (Dallas, Tx / Lovejoy HS) at 70:42 for a 3-2 lead.
Momentum was fitted for a red jersey, and the game quickly dissolved for SAGU.
Orona iced the game on a breakaway thanks to an assist from 5’1 Ezekiel LeFleur.
A moment after a hard tackle prompted a third cautionary yellow card against the Lions, Orona drilled his second penalty kick to nail the door shut at 5-2.
It was the 17th goal of the year for Orona.
The Mustangs outshot SAGU by a 20-15 count. The Lions had a 4-3 edge in cornerkicks. In regards to fouls, USW had 14, SAGU 10. The teams each had three yellow citations.
During intermission fans were given the opportunity to honor three outgoing seniors; David Flores (San Miguel, El Salvador / RL Turner HS; Richardson, Tx), Martinez and James Swearingin (Arlington, Tx / Home School).
Season ends October 27
The Lions will close out the 2012 season with a road game in Austin next Saturday. They will take on Huston-Tillotson University, the pre-season favorite to win the RRAC.
The Rams currently reside in sixth place at 7-2-4 overall and are 5-2-3 in league action.
HT owns a 5-0-1 record against SAGU dating back to 2006, outscoring Team Purple by a 26-4 count. The Lions last won in the series in 2005, 4-3, in Austin.
During that span, SAGU is 1-2 at Tillotson.
RRAC League Season Standings
Teams (Overall Record) RRAC Record GF-GA How SAGU Fared
Texas at Brownsville (9-4-3)* 8-2 46-13 L 1-12
Our Lady of the Lake (9-6-1)* 8-2 24-15 L 0-2
Texas Wesleyan (8-5-2) 7-2-1 26-11 L 0-1
Northwood (7-6-2) 6-2-2 21-15 L 2-5
LSU-Shreveport (11-5-1) 6-3-1 19-20 L 1-4
Huston-Tillotson (7-2-4) 5-2-3 21-13 Oct. 27
Southwest (7-7-1) 6-4 29-18 L 2-5
St. Thomas (5-9-1) 3-6-1 16-19 L 0-1
Wiley College (3-11) 2-7 8-21 W 1-0
SAGU (6-11) 2-8 12-33 - - -
Bacone College (2-14) 2-8 10-30 L 0-1 (2 OT)
Texas College (1-15) 0-9 11-33 W 4-1
GF-GA = Goals Scored For, Goals Scored Against during the RRAC games.
*October 27 season finale: OLLU at UTB, 5pm