Defense, Goaltending Not Enough for Lady Lions
Martin, LSU-Shreveport shut down SAGU, 4-0
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women's soccer team came up short on a warm, sunny afternoon against a talented Louisiana State University at Shreveport team, 4-0, on Southwestern Field. For both teams, their known M.O. was visible from the onset.
SAGU's known strength, goalkeeping and defense
The Lady Lions (2-9, 0-2 in the RRAC) have struggled throughout in the midfield and frontline attacks, having been shutout in eight of their eleven games. While their defensive intensity improved against the LSUS Lady Pilots, the few breakdowns were costly. Despite superb goaltending by senior Tracy Griffin (Wylie, Tx / Wylie HS), the margin of error is skin-tight due to the lack of offense.
SAGU was blanked in eight of their final ten games in 2009, and have now failed to tally a point in 18 of their last 25 games. Yet the squad has remained competitive with improved defense, led by sisters Sarah and Jessica Powell (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS), the addition of speed into the line-up and the stellar play of Griffin.
Saturday it was not enough. LSUS, playing in their sixth season of existence and first as a member of the Red River Athletic Conference, were led by their top three offensive performers.
LSUS known asset, Brooke Martin
Brooke Martin, a 5'6 sophomore out of San Antonio, already having scored a hat trick earlier this season, added her second against the Purple Pride. And she made each of her three goals look easy.
Taking a pass from Ashley Pope near midfield, she quickly outran a defender who was trying to guard her man-to-man. Martin sped up the left side, having broken free, veered toward the goal and blasted a shot from a sharp angle to beat a well-positioned Griffin. Her score went into the far right, high corner of the net only 6:50 into the ninety-minute match.
The LSUS bench celebrated wildly. One reserve player, when asked to confirm if Martin's kick was left-footed, said, "She's both-footed!"
Someone who is skilled with both hands is said to be ambidextrous. What of a person with a pair of gifted feet? Well, it is easier to describe Martin's play than to do that word-search.
She liked the initial score so nice, she did it twice. Twenty-four minutes later Pope connected with her "favorite Martin," who was free in the middle circle. She went the distance, unhindered to score on a breakaway for a 2-0 lead at the 30:49 mark. "I love those kind," she said at the half of breakaways.
After sitting out much of the second half, Martin returned for a shot at 3-goal hat trick. It didn't take long. Receiving a left-to-right pass from Sarah Guillory on the edge of the box, she was wide open between defenders. Martin right-footed a smash to the right side of the net before Griffin could react at 79:41 to ice the game at 3-0. It was her eighth goal this season.
LSUS, a school of 4,500, came to the RRAC in a cost-effective move. Long, overnight trips in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference prompted them to align with the Red River.
Posting Six Straight Shutouts
The Pilots, named for the famed steamboats that commuted along the riverfront city, won for the sixth straight time, all by virtue of shutouts. LSUS began the season with losses to Oklahoma City University (7-2 record), Mid-America Christian University (9-0) and William Carey University (7-1-2) by a combined 9-1 score. Since then the blue and gold are 6-0 and own 18-0 goals margin.
Their final was their most artistic. Tara Arrington spotted Allison Aaron moving into a void in the SAGU defense and sent a shoulder-high cross about 10 yards out. Aaron was the last substitute sent onto the pitch by coach Krasi Kolarov. Her on-time header was on-the-mark, bonking the ball in the side of the goal mouth with just 2:09 to play.
Most of the Lady Lions highlights came on the defensive end of the field. Natalie Horton (Corsicana, Tx / Corsicana HS) halted a first half scoring try with a header. Jessica Powell's crisp tackle of Rachael Knight stifled a play in front of the goal. Daniela Garcia (Tucson, Az / Rio Rico HS), a feisty defensive back, blocked a thunderous shot with her body with 28 minutes to play.
Horton, a sophomore, is Southwestern's leading goal scorer (three) this season. She attracted a crowd on every Lions possession, effectively denying her of any shots on goal. She also led SAGU in scoring as a freshman with six, one more than Madison Wells (Farmers Branch, Tx / R.L. Turner HS), who had five in 2009.
With sixteen minutes remaining, Southwestern got their first shot of the game. It came on a deep, hooking ball off the foot of Sarah Powell, a defender, from 20 yards away. Garcia stepped in front of another kick, by Heather McCutchen, blocking it with her back, a whack that could be heard across the field.
In the closing minutes of the game, the Lady Lions' 5-foot-7 senior midfielder, Wells, had an opportunity from 16 yards out. She gave it the foot, but her rising boot overshot the right corner by a yard.
LSUS outshot the Lady Lions 16-2 and held a commanding 9-1 advantage in corner kicks, indicating which team was the aggressor.
Next Games for the Lady Lions
Southwestern will be on the road for the next six games before returning home for their final two games of the season on October 28 and 30 against Texas Wesleyan and University of the Southwest, respectively. Their next game is Thursday, October 7, in Muskogee, Oklahoma against Bacone College (4-3, 1-1). It will begin at 1:00pm.
Next Saturday, Oct. 9, SAGU will be in Tyler to face Texas College (3-3, 1-1) at 11:00am.