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Espinosa to bolster a team strength at goalie

Lady Lions report to camp on August 12

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The last line of defense in American football is the safety. In soccer it’s the goalie.

With a pair of junior goalies returning this fall, Southwestern Assemblies of God University signed a talented up-and-comer in Kathleen Espinosa.

The graduate of Corpus Christi’s Richard King High School brings her years of developing experience to Waxahachie. She was named Second Team All-District 28-5A the past two seasons for the Mustangs.

Their competition in the district included, Cibolo Steele, Corpus Christi Carroll, San Antonio E. Central, San Antonio Southwest, and South San Antonio.

King was ousted in the state tournament by Northside (San Antonio) Brandeis HS.

Donning the forest green and white, the 5'2 Espinosa earned the Thundering Herd’s Best Defensive Player as a senior.

In 29 games between the pipes, she allowed just 2.00 goals per game and made 3.38 saves per outing.

"Kathleen has a great work ethic," admitted SAGU Head Coach Mandy Fortner, who is entering her third year. "I look for her to be a strong competitor for the starting position as goal-keeper."

"Her desire to improve and her drive to work hard drew my attention," she continued. "A great attitude and a willingness to learn shows that she is coachable."

"She is fearless, vocal and takes charge in the box. I am very excited to have Kathleen here at SAGU. Her and Haley (Shingleton, the starter at goalie) will be great for each other."

King Head Coach, Rebecca Armstrong, had high praise for her example, influence and productivity.

“Kathleen became the player and person everyone on the team looked up to,” she said recently. “Everyone could depend on her when things got tough.”

“Her teammates knew she would step up and take care of business on and off the field,” she added. “Kathleen changed the attitude and outlook of the team and her teammates and coaches respected her for it.”

Espinosa has honed her skills in the net at the Pro Cat Goalkeeping Academy in Corpus Christi (pop. 307,000), which is 210 down the Gulf Coast line from Houston.

She played club soccer for the San Antonio Lions under Head Coach Jesse Esquivel.

Espinosa also cited Coach Tony Gram as a tutor, gaining experience with his Corpus Christi Gulf Coast Soccer College Prep.

Lady Lions' depth at goalie

The women’s soccer program at SAGU is entering its seventh season this fall. They posted their best record a year ago when they finished 6-11-1. After a 1-8 start the Purple Pride went 5-3-1 down the stretch.

Moving up to the Sooner Athletic Conference, considered the NAIA's premier league, offers a clear challenge for the Lady Lions.

Six of their 10 conference games are against team with winning 2012 records.

Three of the other four teams were just one game under .500. 

SAGU scored 28 goals and allowed just 32.

The Lady Lions pitched six shutouts, with four of them coming in a six-game span to end the season.

Haley Shingleton (Pasadena, Tx / Deer Park HS) had a 6-6-1 record as well as turning in the half dozen times SAGU blanked an opponent.

Her return this fall will have the 5-foot-5 junior expected to earn the starting role.

Shingleton allowed only 19 goals last season in 14 games, an average yield of 1.4 per game. That placed her fifth best in the Red River Athletic Conference. She was credited with 100 saves, 6.25 per outing, the fourth highest in the league.

Amber Belisle (Roseville, Cal / Whitney HS), a starter at midfield, appeared in four games as the netminder. Agile at 5'7, she made 25 saves. In other games she added four goals and an assist.

The acquisition of Espinosa should add depth to the position while competing for a stronger role.

Born in Corpus Christi (which is Latin for the Body of Christ), Kathleen is the daughter Sergio Espinosa, Jr. and Monique Espinosa. She has an 11-year old brother, Sergio Espinosa III.

She plans to study counseling at SAGU.

Kathleen was involved in the “Real Life” Corpus Student Ministry during her teen years and was a student leader with a local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

About SAGU Soccer

SAGU has a very vibrant FCA presence on campus. Emily Jones (Flagstaff, Az / Flagstaff HS), who is a junior midfielder for the Lady Lions soccer team, is one of the two student-athlete directors of the SAGU chapter.

The Lady Lions report for pre-season camp on August 12.

The previous week many players will be involved in a service project in the small, Southern Texas town of Leakey.

SAGU has an 18-game schedule, eight of them on the home pitch.

Their home debut is on the first day of school, September 4, against Colorado’s Johnson & Wales University.

SAGU Sports Live broadcast two of their 2012 home matches via HD video.

While the SSL itinerary has not been determined, Head Coach Mandy Fortner hopes to have a few contests aired again this year.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at mwarde@sagu.edu or at 469-658-2847.
 

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