California girls lead SAGU to 4-0 win
Lambdin, Belisle score first three goals
Lady Lions play at Bacone on Thursday
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s soccer team rolled past Southwestern Christian University (Ok), 4-0, on a sultry, windy Monday.
Playing with a distinct California flavor, SAGU grabbed a three-goal lead by halftime on scores by the Left Coast Lions; Amy Lambdin (Stockton, Cal / Elliot Christian) and Amber Belisle (Roseville, Cal / Whitney HS).
The sophomores from the Golden State shone like stars when they turned good passes into decisive scores. Feeding off of each other’s mojo, the duo who live 42-miles apart in the Central Valley, sparked the entire team.
Noelle Pugliese (Lee’s Summit, Mo / Lee’s Summit North HS) sent a through-ball to Belisle in the 16th minute. She took the pass and beat the Eagles’ keeper to the left, only to watch the ball skirt a foot wide of the post. It was a prelude of things to come.
Two minutes later Pugliese (pug-LEES) fired a sharp left cross to a slashing Lambdin. She touched the ball once, and then struck a rising shot that ripped the nets in the right corner. SAGU led 1-0 just 18:26 into the ninety-minute contest.
Maintaining possession in the SCU zone, Pugliese helped give Team Lioness a commanding 2-0 advantage with another sweet assist.
Approaching the box from the right flank, the junior forward tapped a short pass to Belisle (beh-LIE-yul), who found a seam to the left of Pugliese. From eight yards out, the resident of a Sacramento suburb kicked the ball to the right at the 21:45 mark.
Southwestern Christian (2-4-1), whose campus is just west of Oklahoma City, looked a bit sluggish from the 230-mile trip.
SAGU countered the Eagles’ slow start with fresh verve!
Lyndi Garrison (Hastings, Mich / Thornapple Kellogg HS) broke free during an offensive rush, but hurried a shot that missed the left post in the 34th minute.
The Eagles, who were limited to only three shots on goal, had a 3-on-2 opportunity to get back in the game. It was stifled by the hustle of Emily Jones (Flagstaff, Az / Flagstaff HS).
She made a take-away in the northeast corner that epitomized SCU’s inability to assemble an attack on Monday.
A few minutes later Jones collected her first career assist on offense.
She booted the ball to Lambdin on the left wing, some 32-yards from the net. The blonde bomber one-timed a screamer toward the goal mouth that, at first, looked like it was intended for a teammate in the middle of the box.
The goalie, Karmin Smith, misjudged the velocity of the shot, which sailed over her head. It glanced off the crossbar and went down, just over the goal line, before bouncing out. At 38:02, the game was firmly in the Lions’ clutches at 3-0.
So effective were the Lady Lions in the initial forty-five minutes, they had a 13-0 advantage in shots taken.
No let-up after intermission
The second half resumed with Team Purp presiding over the Eagles, who wore solid royal threads.
Head Coach Mandy Fortner’s reliance on recruiting local student-athletes was on display in the fourth goal of the game.
Justine Lopez (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS), from nearby Red Oak, nailed a long-distance blast just 16:38 into the half.
Setting-up shop in the middle of the pitch following a foul on the Blue Birds, she drilled the ensuing free-kick some 27-yards over a wall of defenders as well as the keeper.
SCU’s Smith back peddled and leapt, only to have the shot deflect off her fingertips, high and into the net.
SAGU enjoyed the benefits of a 10-3 upper-hand in shots to finish at 23-3. The entire bench, save injured defender Gloria Lozano (El Paso, Tx / Socorro HS), received playing time.
Sophomore netminder Haley Shingleton (Pasadena, Tx / Deer Park HS) earned her second shutout this season. After sitting out a few games, she was rarely tested on Monday. The verbose veteran has now blanked teams five times in her career.
Fortner assesses the victory
“I thought we did a good job of controlling the pace of the game in the first half,” surmised Coach Fortner. “Having Haley back in the net and Amber (her back-up at goalie) on the field makes us a stronger team.”
Lambdin, a 5’7 forward, has fittingly played her best while her parents, Dan and Beth, were in town over the weekend. She scored all four of her goals in front of them.
“Amy has really taken off as a goal scorer for us this season. I hope it will continue even after her parents head back to Cali tomorrow,” Fortner continued.
“Our attack is coming together nicely. We are now looking for each other, possessing (the ball) and waiting for scoring opportunities,” she added.
“I believe we are averaging a goal a game, and I'm expecting it to increase. Maybe we’ll break some records this year.”
The coach switched the field scheme to a 3-5-2 alignment for parts of the game. It allowed the strong-legged, senior captain Jessica Powell-Roman (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS) to be more involved in the attack.
“She did a good job but wasn't able to find a clear shot.”
“Overall,” Fortner observed, “I am happy with the win and I hope to begin a winning streak.”
Road games on Thursday, Saturday
For that to happen, the Lady Lions will need to apply their progress at other locations. They will be in Muskogee, Oklahoma on Thursday where they will play Bacone College at 3:00pm (CST).
This Saturday, September 29, SAGU meets Texas College at 1:00pm in Tyler, Texas.
Both the Warriors and the TC Steers, like SAGU, are 0-2 in the Red River Athletic Conference.
The Purple Pride’s next match on home turf will be on Thursday, October 4, when Wiley College pays a visit.
Lambdin’s two-goal performance moved her up to third in the RRAC in goals, while Belisle tied Pugliese for seventh.
Southwestern has eight games remaining in the regular season, three of them at home.
The Oct. 20 match against New Mexico’s University of the Southwest will be broadcast by SAGU Sports Live. The high definition product will be available free of charge to viewers.