Lions yield to OLLU in second half
Penalty kick breaks 1-1 tie
Ramirez scores big goal against #26 ranked Saints
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- After playing No. 26 Our Lady of the Lake University to a 1-1 tie in the first half; Southwestern Assemblies of God University came up short in a 3-1 loss.
After nearly five inches of rain the night before, the game was moved from SAGU’s campus pitch to the artificial surface at Lumpkins Stadium.
The soaked turf drained well and led to high velocity action between two precision passing teams.
Knotted at a goal apiece, the contest turned on one play in the fifty-eighth minute.
The Saints (6-1) had possession in the Lions territory, erred on a pass over the middle to junior Robert Alexe. In a race for the ball, Alexe and Lions goalie Cesar Galvan (Allen, Tx / Lovejoy HS) angled quickly to claim custody.
Galvan slid and appeared to arrive earliest, latching onto the ball before Alexe collided with him. The referee saw otherwise, indicating a foul on Galvan for getting there late and initiating the contact.
Since it occurred inside the 18-yard box, a penalty kick was cited.
Alexe, a junior winger, banged the PK past Galvan from the 12-yard mark for a 2-1 lead. It was his fifth goal this season and 11th career tally.
After Giovanni Sierra netted the game’s first score in the 13th minute, a laser in the upper left corner (assisted by Alexe), the Lions got the equalizer.
Five minutes later, during an attempt by the visitors to clear the ball, SAGU’s Joel Ramirez (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) had the good fortune of winding up with possession in the box.
It wound up deposited into the back of the net by Ramirez. The team leader in shots (24) got his first score of 2013 and third career goal.
A hard tackle by a SAGU defender led to a pair of red cards to end any chance of a Lions comeback. Playing two-men short the final twenty minutes led to a Halos goal by Manuel Chavez score to ice the game.
Galvan, the vocal leader of the Lions, had a solid game with 10 saves.
Head Coach Clem Oancea (WAHN-cha) was disappointed at the loss, at some of the calls, yet gratified at his team’s cohesion.
“The game was intense and entertaining as expected,” he said. “The first half went by so quickly. OLLU was the best team we have played so far.”
“I wish the officiating would have been as high as the game was,” he admitted. “The inconsistency led to players becoming confused about what constituted a foul.”
The former Romanian national player pointed out that video evidence (of the play in the box that led to the penalty kick) revealed a different call could’ve made a difference.
“The game changed after that,” he said.
“But I was glad to see how well we played as a team. Our team never gave up, even playing two men down,” he added.
“I believe this game gave us the spark we have been looking for. The turn of events brought the players even closer to each other.”
As for the play of the fleet-footed Ramirez, Oancea was most impressed. “I think he is one of the best forwards in the conference and he has proved it.”
“The entire team has stepped up and I am proud of every single one of them.”
Two Big Games: Thursday on the Gulf, Saturday at home
The Lions (3-4), who had to play without leading scorer Robert Ambrosie (Lasi, Romania / Wurmbrand HS), will be back in action on Thursday.
SAGU meets the University of Houston at Victoria at 5:00pm. The Jaguars also lost to OLLU, 2-0. They are currently 7-2. UHV, an NAIA independent, has allowed nine goals in nine games.
A LiveStats webcast of the events of the game will be available for fans at: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Webcasts.aspx?association=10
Two days later, on Saturday, September 28, SAGU plays host to their first-ever league game in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
Oklahoma City University visits Waxahachie for a 3:00pm contest. The Stars are 3-3 and the only team to beat OLLU.