Soccer Men Come Up Short
Late Rally, Lions Foiled, 4-2
Paz, Salvato contribute goals
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Despite dominating for more than half of Monday’s soccer game at Lion Pride Park, Southwestern Assemblies of God University couldn’t complete a feverish comeback in a 4-2 loss at the hands of Central Baptist College.
The Lions’ habit of sluggish starts continued. By intermission they trailed 1-0 though they had already surrendered eight cornerkicks. CBC tacked on consecutive goals less than three minutes apart to open the second stanza, both times countering a SAGU rush with a quick strike of their own for a 3-0 advantage. Sabelo Hlongwane (pronounced SHOO-wah-nee) tallied twice.
By game’s end, the Lions had outshot the Mustangs, 20-11, with three glancing off the uprights or crossbar.
Central, 12-7-1 last season, had shutout SAGU in each of the past two seasons under head coach Justin Hawkins (51-23-5 in five years).
On the strength of a recruiting class that looks to be more than capable, SAGU rode their skills, aggressiveness and leadership to a near upset of the black-clad mares from Arkansas.
“The team is working hard and getting better each game,” praised Gerald Nichols, SAGU's first year head coach. “Plus, we’ve been adding players who’ve returned from injury or have been cleared to play (by the NAIA). We’re still getting to know each other and are working at improving our offensive chemistry.”
True. The Lions did not lack from energy or “want to.” However, the meshing of new players into the mix has resulted in an erratic offense that missed a handful of chances to finish a quality bid to score.
One player put it this way; “We’re still out of sync, but you can feel it coming!”
Emmanuel Paz (Houston, Tx / Westfield HS), in his first game since being activated, made a solid impact. He scored the Lions initial goal on a frozen rope from the left, 15 yards from the goal on an assist by Salvador Avila (Irving, Tx / MacArthur HS).
It capped a relentless SAGU attack in which scoring chances abounded. Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress Creek HS), Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS) and Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS) booted would-be goals that hit the pipes or sailed just beyond the goal mouth.
Jordan Salvato (Springfield, Tx / Central HS) cashed in on a bold helper from senior captain Sam Cabrera (Tampa, Fla / Hillsborough CC, Tampa Baptist). A penalty kick by the Mustangs gave them just enough breathing room with twenty minutes to go.
Paz (Pahz) had two other chances and Sturgeon, who owns a left-footed howitzer, missed by inches over the crossbar and had a chip-shot go over the keeper only to roll past the right post.
The Swedish are Coming!
SAGU’s next match is on the home pitch, Saturday, September 10, when they take on Bethany College (Ks) at 1:00pm. The Swedes, currently 0-3, play at Dallas Christian College on Sept. 9 at 7:00pm.
The Lions, 1-2-1, could still add two players to the Purple Pride, which would bolster their arsenal, yet require more work at cohesion.
or at 469-658-2847.