The conditions couldn’t have been any more miserable. The result couldn’t have been more beautiful.
In a driving rain, howling winds and frigid temperatures, the sixth-seeded Angelina College Roadrunner men’s soccer team upset No. 3 Blinn College 5-4 in Wednesday’s Region XIV quarterfinal action in Bellville.
The win marks the first-ever post-season victory for any AC soccer team in the program’s four-year history while setting a new men’s mark for wins in a season with eight. This tournament appearance also marks the first time a Roadrunner men’s team has qualified for the playoffs
The ‘Runners raced out to a 3-0 first-half lead behind goals from Matt Gayle, Ulises Mercado and Edward Alderson, and then the team held off a furious late rally from the Bucs to close out the match and advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
Following two second-half goals from Scott Gray (who contributed two assists as well) and Jack Price – who netted the eventual game winner in the 82nd minute – AC found itself fending off Blinn’s late scoring spree. The Bucs would score a pair of goals in a three-minute span, with Farit Ha converting a penalty kick in the 87th minute to cut the AC lead to 5-4.
The teams then found themselves sent off the pitch when a storm rolled through, resulting in a 45-minute lightning delay with just 2:22 showing on the clock.
When the teams resumed action, Roadrunner defenders were able to prevent the Bucs from creating the equalizer, setting off a long-awaited postseason celebration in the rain.
AC’s men will face No. 1 seed Tyler Junior College at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Tyler. The two teams split their regular-season matches, with Tyler winning 3-0 in Tyler and the ‘Runners taking a 1-0 win in Lufkin.
The winner will qualify for the national tournament scheduled to take place Nov. 18-23 in Tyler.
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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