Steady Climb: AC Men’s Soccer Team Reaches First Post-Season Roadrunners Travel to Blinn on Tuesday for Opening Round

Ulises Mercado: Angelina College’s Ulises Mercado leads the Roadrunners into Tuesday’s Region XIV men’s quarterfinals against Blinn College in Brenham. It’s the first-ever postseason appearance for AC’s fourth-year program. (Gary Stallard photo)

Since their inaugural season in 2016, the Angelina College Roadrunner men’s soccer team has experienced a steady climb in improvement, from the program’s 1-12-2 finish in ’16 to this year’s 7-10-1 regular-season record. Along the way, the teams have proven themselves tough outs to even some of the more established teams in Region XIV.

This year, the Roadrunners reached a coveted milestone: After going 6-8 in conference play – including an upset of nationally ranked Tyler Junior College on Oct. 5 – AC’s men have qualified for the conference tournament for the very first time.

The accomplishment caps a season filled with plenty of adversity and uncertainty, with numerous close losses combined with some convincing wins. Despite those ups and downs, the team seems to be hitting its collective stride at exactly the right moment.

The ‘Runners capped the regular season with a 3-1 win over Blinn College Saturday in Brenham. Ulises Mercado, who leads the team with nine goals this season, scored a pair of goals – including a spectacular overhead kick to the nets – and Taurayi Tugwete added another to give AC its sixth win in conference play.

On Tuesday, the Roadrunners will open the postseason against those same Bucs on the same pitch in Brenham.

Coach Matt Hubert said the team’s mindset is composed of both confidence and determination.

“We’re all excited, especially after what happened Saturday night in getting such a big win,” Hubert said. “The past couple of weeks we’ve been right there as a ball club, and some unfortunate things have happened during matches that kept us from experiencing success. But it looks like we’ve gotten over that hump, and things are clicking right now.

“There’s a lot of confidence among the guys right now. There’s not a guy in the locker room who doesn’t feel we can have some success in the playoffs.”

The Roadrunners and Bucs will kick off at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Hohlt Park in Brenham.

The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is

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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.