It only feels as if it’s been a long time coming.
In reality, the Angelina College Roadrunner men’s soccer program has only existed for three short years – barely enough time to establish roots, much less high expectations. There have been plenty of heart-breaking losses, with so many of those by a single goal.
That’s why Saturday’s 1-0 win over No. 4 Tyler Junior College set off such a wild celebration. After three years, the Roadrunners finally had their very first win over a ranked opponent.
Jack Price leapt the Tyler keeper on a blocked shot and smoked the ball into the net in the 59th minute for the match’s lone goal, but the work from AC’s back line – including Roadrunner keeper Sven Van den Oever –helped secure the program’s biggest win to date.
Brad Lowes, Usman Sotomi, Joe Estrada and others continually pushed back on every Apache scoring run, with Van den Oever slapping away two critical saves late in the match. When Van den Oever went down with an injury with just 28 seconds to play, Shane Wallace stepped in and, along with the rest of the defense, held off Tyler’s final charge.
The win gave the Roadrunners just their second two-match winning streak of the season. More importantly, the win lifted AC into a tie with Coastal Bend Community College for the fourth-place spot in the Region XIV standings. The conference tournament at the end of the month will feature the league’s top four teams, and with five matches remaining in the regular season (all of those on the road), the Roadrunners have an opportunity to qualify for the post season for the first time in the program’s brief history.
Earlier in the day, the Roadrunner women fell 3-0 to No. 2 Tyler.
Both AC teams celebrated Sophomore Day in pre-match ceremonies. Roadrunner women playing in their final home games were Eva Phillips, Italli Suarez, Stefany Lopez, Bety Hernandez, Makayla Lewis, Jasmin Keller, Savannah Keziah, Bailey Bowers, Daisy de Boer and Sasha Moreira.
Roadrunner men sophomores seeing their home finale were Elmer Hernandez, Jose Estrada, Fernando Marquez, Bryan Nunez, Brad Lowes, Matthew Lannan, Usman Sotomi, Eldi Seiti, Javier Montes and Mikolaj Stan.
Both AC teams will play at Paris College on Friday beginning with the women’s match at 4 p.m.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is email@example.com.
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games.
Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.
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