Women's Soccer Team Bound for Muskogee
Lady Lions Seek Offensive on the Road
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The regular season is winding down, but the challenge to make progress is heating up.
The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women's soccer team, now in their fifth season of existence, is 2-9 through eleven games. They have seven contests still on tap, with the next five away from home. There remains the possibility of rescheduling the twice-postponed game at Dallas Christian College.
Coach Tim Grant, now in his second season at the helm, continues to teach and to keep his squad focused on improving.
During Tuesday's practice he led a lively practice that involved several new elements, all including his interactive banter with the players. Coach Grant has a blend of instructional reminders during drills, along with his patented wit.
He hasn't allowed the team's struggle to score more often to become a grind. Author Diane Westlake once said, "Whatever the struggle, continue the climb. It may be only one step from the summit."
For the Lady Lions, however, that step may feel much further than one. They have been shutout in eight of their games. The pressure to produce a goal or two in their games, and the positive energy they create, can become a heavy burden. No wonder Coach Grant seeks to keep team practices light and peppy, yet focused.
Next Game: Thursday in Muskogee, Ok
The team will soon depart for Muskogee, Oklahoma, the site of their next game. The 250 mile trek for a 1:00pm clash against Bacone College likely means an overnight stay in the 11th largest city (pop. 38,000) in the state. Muskogee was once known more for its 1969 inclusion in Merle Haggard's country song, "Okie from Muskogee."
However, the city who was founded on the banks of the Verdigris River in 1817, made national headlines for an unusual reason in 2008. John Tyler Hammons was elected mayor of Muskogee that year, and he is still in office. At 19, he was one of the youngest elected mayors in U.S. history.
Seeking an Offensive Turnaround
SAGU, with a 2-9 overal won-lost record, is tied with Huston-Tillotson University (3-7-1) and the University of the Southwest (1-5) in eighth place in the Red River Athletic Conference with an 0-2 league mark. Perhaps the Lady Lions can receive some encouragement from Bacone College's example.
When Southwestern and Bacone met last fall, the Lady Warriors were 0-7-1 and had been outscored 57-3 at the time. They won that game on a late goal, 1-0, and while they went 1-5-1 down the stretch, their defense improved as they yielded just 22 goals while scoring four.
This season, though, Bacone is 4-3 in all games and 1-1 in the RRAC. They have scored 25 against 19 by their opponents, whom they have registered four shutouts. The turnaround began with the triumph over SAGU. Perhaps a road win against the Warriors will trigger such a recovery as it did for BC.
Team Lioness scored 4 and yielded 20 during a 1-5 stretch run in 2009. In 2010, SAGU has kicked 11 in the net, though eight were in one game (Southwestern Adventist), and they have surrendered 30.
Most Likely 'Cat Catalysts
SAGU's offensive players include Natalie Horton (Corsicana, Tx / Corsicana HS), who led them in scoring in 2009 (six goals) and is tops in 2010 with three goals and one assist. Perla Acosta (Houston, Tx / Klein Forest HS) and Noelle Pugliese (Lee's Summit, Mo / Lee's Summit North HS), a pair of freshmen forwards, each have two goals and two assists.
Madison Wells (Farmers Branch, Tx / R.L. Turner HS), the senior midfielder has often been the one who sets up scoring opportunities. She leads the squad with four assists. Those who have scored a goal this year are senior Sarah Powell (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS), Daniela Garcia (Tucson, Az / Rio Rico HS), Jessica Powell (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS) and Wells.
Nicole Martinez (pictured as number 12) is a 5-foot-5 midfielder from Cortez, Colorado. She has shown skills that could lead to a promising finish for the sophomore from Montezuma High School.
SAGU Lady Lions final seven games
|DATE||TIME||OPPONENT||CURRENT RECORD||GAME LOCATION|
|10/7||1:00 PM||Bacone College||4-3 / 1-1||Muskogee, OK|
|10/11||1:00 PM||Texas College||3-3 / 1-1||Tyler, TX|
|10/14||5:00 PM||Huston-Tillotson||3-7-1 / 0-2||Austin, TX|
|10/21||1:00 PM||Our Lady of the Lake||5-0-1 / 0-0-1||Austin, TX|
|10/23||1:00 PM||UT-Brownsville||5-2-2 / 0-0-1||Brownsville, TX|
|10/28||1:00 PM||Texas WEsleyan||8-2 / 2-0||Waxahachie, TX|
|10/30||11:00 AM||University of the Southwest*||1-5 / 0-2||Waxahachie, TX|
|*Senior Day & Parents Day|