The defense never rests
Senior Spotlight: Jessica Powell-Roman
Defender helps build women's soccer program
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Following her sister Sarah to Southwestern Assemblies of God University, both helping build the young women’s soccer program, Jessica (Powell) Roman experienced both growing pains and great joys.
An outstanding defender, Roman saw the Lady Lions steadily improve from a 1-15-1 mark in her sophomore season in which SAGU was outscored 55-7, to a strong 5-3-1 finish as a senior.
In SAGU’s best performance in their seven years, she was not only a pillar on defense, but she scored the game’s lone goal in the 88th minute in a stunning 1-0 road upset of Our Lady of the Lake University last fall.
Her penalty kick blast with less than two minutes remaining was Exhibit A in the case for the rising competitive nature of the Purple Pride.
They were 1-8 in 2012 before rallying down the stretch to post a 6-11-1 mark. The Lady Lions had never won more than one conference game until going 4-5-1 last fall. (See the team's annual records below)
While the defense allowed just 32 goals, they did post six shutouts. Offense is where the team had its struggles, netting 28 goals.
SAGU lost six matches by one goal, further evidence the program is rising.
Under second year Head Coach Mandy Fortner, who owns scoring records at both Navarro College and Dallas Baptist University, SAGU has instead focused on establishing an effective defense.
By limiting opponents’ offensive production, the Lady Lions also lessen the demands on them to score a lot.
The bedrock of the team – defense - held the opposition to two goals or less in 13 of 18 games.
Several players helped anchor the resistance, led by Powell-Roman, defender Gloria Lozano (El Paso, Tx / Socorro HS) and goalie Haley Shingleton (Pasadena, Tx / Deer Park HS).
Roman utilized her athleticism, speed and agility as a shutdown defender along with a powerful right leg.
She took well to Coach Fortner’s off-season conditioning program, which showed up during late game performances.
Endurance is a bi-product of Fortner-coached teams, and Roman always had plenty in her tank as matches in the Texas heat wore on.
Jessica is from Terrell, Texas, which is just east of Dallas. She graduated from Terrell High School and was active at the local First Assembly of God church.
SAGU Women’s Soccer: Rising Roar!
|Season||Overall Record||RRAC Record||GF-GA||SOF-SOA|
Key: GF – Goals Scored For SAGU. GA – Goals Scored Against SAGU. SOF – Shutouts For SAGU. SOA – Shutouts Against SAGU.
Head Coaches: Mandy Fortner 2011, 2012. Tim Grant 2009, 2010. Jeremy Tosaya 2006, 2007, 2008.
Jessica Powell-Roman Bio
Husband: Alex Roman
Parents: Jimmy and Angie Powell
Siblings (age): Sarah (Powell) Heider (23), Jeremy (20), and Chelsi (3).
High School: Terrell High School
Favorite Scriptural Passage: Romans 12:1-5
Favorite Book/Author: Radical by David Platt
Favorite Song: God I look to you by Bethel
Favorite Restaurant in Waxahachie: Chick-fil-A
Major at SAGU: Social Work with a minor in Intercultural Studies
Career Direction: Advance the Kingdom of God by serving in the field of Social Work and possibly pursue a Master's degree.
Your Immediate Plans: My immediate plans are to enjoy the summer, go on a one year anniversary trip with my husband, and enjoy our new baby boy in August.
Q1) What were your reasons for choosing SAGU?
Jessica Powell-Roman: My sister was already enrolled here as a student! Plus, the atmosphere for spiritual growth was incomparable. I loved how the soccer team would pray together and support each other like a Christian family - and I wanted to be a part of that.
I felt it was the college that would provide the greatest opportunity for me to grow in my relationship with God, gain Christian and vocational education, and play soccer with some amazing people.
Q2) Who was your favorite professor and why?
Jess: Jeff Logue was my favorite professor at SAGU. He always had insightful lectures that kept students wanting to hear what he had to say next.
Q3) How would you summarize your accomplishments (athletically) at SAGU?
Jess: I have loved playing soccer at SAGU. I have been honored to accept the 110th Minute award in 2009, Heart of a Lion in 2010, and in 2011 Defensive MVP.
However, the greatest accomplishment I had as a Lady Lion was the privilege of leading our amazing soccer team for the past two years.
In order to lead the team, I had to learn how to encourage, direct, and serve my teammates. It was one of the most challenging and most rewarding parts of my soccer career at SAGU.
Q4) What did you enjoy most about the SAGU experience?
Jess: It had to be the amazing people I got to interact with. No matter where I was at on campus I could always find someone willing to take time to make an impact in my life.
While at SAGU I continually met people who were truly a blessing.
These people often were my teammates and coaches. Lupe, the school landscaper, who is an amazing, caring man of God. My roommates and my dorm pastor, Bethanie Skipper. The Missions Ten leadership team, along with some friendly professors.
Q5) What did you most enjoy about chapel?
Jess: Chapel was - hands down - one of my favorite experiences at SAGU.
I loved the worship and the Truth we regularly encountered. Those times in chapel challenged me in many areas of my life.
One of my favorite speakers during my time at SAGU was Pastor Rick Dubose.
Q6) What was the most pleasant surprise you experienced at SAGU?
Jess: Being able to have my very own candlelight ceremony at Kendrick. I always enjoyed the excitement that erupted from these nights but never thought I would actually have one of my own.
Q7) What were personal highlights or favorite memories of playing at SAGU?
Jess: Some of my most favorite memories of the soccer team were when we were traveling. Like floating down the river with the whole team near Leakey, Tx at an outreach event; going to the beach, having a scavenger hunt, and playing games on the bus.
Q8) What did you most appreciate from the athletic leadership on your team? Jess: Perhaps the encouragement, their example, attention and ministry opportunities.
Jess: Coach Mandy has been a phenomenal example to me in so many ways.
She is able to create an amazing atmosphere where both fun and growth exist, on and off the field. She pushed me to the next level athletically through her coaching and drive.
Also I never doubted that she genuinely cared for the team and me. I feel blessed to have had her as my coach.
Q9) Did you ever participate in any team ministry or service projects?
Jess: Our team held soccer week-long camps in various locations over the summer. I have served in camps at San Antonio twice, and in Leakey.
These were always experiences full of joy as we were able to provide a memorable week for children who don’t normally get to experience these types of camps.
I remember the children getting to enjoy games, bible studies, songs and dramas that we put on for them. These were among my most memorable moments at SAGU.
Q10) Your biggest win or best game or best play – when, against who, what happened?
Jess: The climax of my career at SAGU, was a game this season against Our Lady of the Lake. They were in first place in our conference and we were in sixth.
The whole game was a tough fight. Our team was focused, and determined to achieve our best that day on the field.
Our defense was holding tight and we were able to manage everything the other team brought. I felt as though God was really driving our team.
It was a scoreless tie up until the end, when Amy (Lambdin) was fouled near the goal, awarding our team a penalty kick and a clear chance to take the lead.
Coach asked me to take the kick. I was confident in my abilities to make this shot, but I couldn't ignore the pressure that that one play held.
Making the goal won the game.
Q11) Describe the competition you faced in the NAIA?
Jess: When I first started playing at SAGU, I was surprised at the pace at which our opponents played. After a few games I was able to adjust to it. Overall, we were constantly challenged by a good opponent.
Q12) What aspect of the game will you miss the most, or what dynamic will you long for the most?
Jess: Without a doubt, I am definitely going to miss the ‘team dynamics’ when I graduate. I have enjoyed being a part of the SAGU soccer team more than anything else at SAGU.
We have become like ‘family.’ The ladies I have gotten to play with are irreplaceable and incomparable. We have been able to strive for our best together, challenge one another, and support each other along the way.
I have been encouraged and blessed greatly by each one, and I will greatly miss them.
Q13) What would you have liked to have received or accomplished while wearing the purple and gold?
Jess: Looking back over the seasons, one of our team’s goals was to be invited to a conference tournament. We almost accomplished it this year!
Q14) Any post-college plans to utilize your athletic career?
Jess: During my time as a player at SAGU, I always felt that God had me improving my abilities so that I would be able to use them for sharing Christ with others.
This soccer program helped me see soccer as an expression in life, an avenue to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Q15) How would like to be remembered as a player?
Jess: As someone who always played with heart, who believed in her teammates, and as one who strived to become better.