Horton, Puglies Goals Life Lady Lions
SAGU tops SC Builders, 2-0, behind Griffin shutout
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Powered by a pair of second-half goals in a three-minute time span, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University's women's soccer team picked up their first win of the new season on a sunny, breezy Labor Day afternoon.
The 2-0 triumph over Southwestern College (Kansas) also produced the much anticipated first goals for the Lady Lions, who had begun the year with three shutout defeats.
"I'm very excited for the girls," Head Coach Tim Grant said as players begun to exit the field on Monday. "They played very well together today. The defense was extremely strong, and Tracy (Griffin, Wylie, Tx / Wylie HS) had another excellent game."
Griffin and several teammates have performed at a high level in the season's early stages. It has been the lack of offense that has short-circuited Lady Lions. Injuries to key contributors have only added to the slow start. Those players are improving while three are trying to play through the physical setbacks.
One thing SAGU has not lacked is the superb play of their senior netminder, Griffin, and a host of defenders, led by Sarah Powell (Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS).
"Shelby (Morgan, Silsbee, Tx) and Flor (Carrillo, Waxahachie, Tx) were outstanding on the outside edge of the defense," Grant pointed out. "They are new at their positions and they helped Sarah and Jess (Jessica Powell, Terrell, Tx / Terrell HS) complete the shutout."
The Goal Scorers End Drought
"Two of our forwards made things happen," he continued, speaking of Natalie Horton (Corsicana, Tx / Corsicana HS) and Noelle Pugliese (Lee's Summit, Mo / North HS). "Nat and Noelle created their own shots and the goals we scored rewarded the defense's performance. It was a collective team effort."
Horton elevated her play when the team needed it most. The Lions' leading scorer last year, who almost scored on a blast moments earlier, finally hit pay dirt. She took a pass in the left flank by midfielder Kerri Guinn (Nevada, Tx / Community HS), maneuvered around an SC player, and fired a laser from a very sharp angle just 15 feet from the end line. The blistering shot beat the Moundbuilders' goalie, Rachel Muth, in the opposite corner of the net, causing a long-awaited celebration in the Purple Pride's dugout.
Horton's goal came after 52:30 of scoreless play.
Keeping the pressure on, SAGU maintained possession in the ensuing minutes. Pugliese (PUG-lees), who doesn't suffer from a shortage of confidence, scored a dagger to the Jinx's bid to rally. Having tried earlier in the game to break the deadlock with some impressive moves to free herself for a kick, the freshman came through at the 55:39 mark. No wonder she plays with such aplomb.
A former player at Lee's Summit North High School, near Kansas City, Mo, Pugliese was on the receiving end of an assist from senior midfielder Madison Wells (Farmer's Branch, Tx / R.L. Turner HS) at the top of the penalty area, some 18 yards from the goal. She went left, put on the brakes, pivoted to her right and powered a deep, high shot that sailed over the keeper's upstretched arms and just under the crossbar for a 2-0 lead.
Southwestern College argued seconds earlier for the official to stop play as they had an injured player on the ground nearby. They wanted the goal nullified, but the ref had signaled to let the action continue as SAGU was threatening and in scoring position.
The Moundbuilders, 7-10-1 in 2009, had defeated the Lady Lions last fall on their Winfield, Kansas field by the same 2-0 score.
"It was gratifying to repay the favor," Grant added. "Now we have one more score to settle." On a two-game trip to the Sunflower State in 2009, SAGU lost to both Southwestern College and Central Christian College in a pair of 2-0 verdicts.
Friday Home Game
The Lady Lions (1-3) can return the favor should they duplicate Monday's feat this Friday, September 10. That is when the Central Christian Lady Tigers (0-0-1) come to Waxahachie for a 3pm match. CC hosts Sterling College (2-0) today in McPherson, Ks at 6pm.
Team Lioness will be on the road this Saturday. They travel to Austin for a 5pm clash with Concordia University. The Lady Tornado is currently 0-2, being outscored 5-0. Last September SAGU and C-Tex battled to a double overtime scoreless draw.
SAGU outshot the Builders on Monday, 11-7, and had the game's only cornerkick. SC drew six fouls to four against SAGU, who played in their new road purple uniform while they await new white, home uni's. There were only two offsides flagged by the side officials, each against the Moundbuilders.
Very Interesting Trivia
One of America's most intriguing historical pieces is the beginning of the Southwestern College mascot, a black cat named "the Jinx." It dates back to the 1920's and continues today. Along with an inspiring practice that coincides with their Moundbuilders name, a brief account can be read on Wikipedia under Southwestern College. While Builders is the abbreviated moniker for their athletic teams, their new school logo still incorporates the tradition of the Jinx.
The college with 1,400 students, is affiliated with the Methodist church.