This was such a big week at Angelina College, and not just because we had so many games taking place. Both the Lady Roadrunner and Roadrunner AC basketball teams opened their regular seasons, which was exciting enough.
But the week’s big news was even bigger.
The 7th-ranked Roadrunner soccer team is heading to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament for the second straight year.
And some very strange characters showed up at the Lady Roadrunner softball field on Halloween Night.
Following is a rundown of this past week, along with some events heading your way in the next few days.
Roadrunner Soccer Heading to National Tournament…Again
Some big “firsts” for the Roadrunner soccer team this week.
First, the ‘Runners beat Blinn College 4-1 in Wednesday’s Gulf South District Semifinal on the AC campus, setting up Friday’s district finale against perennial nemesis Tyler Junior College.
Been there, done that.
What was different about this 2023 season was that the Roadrunners for the first time in program history played host in the Gulf South District Championship. In years past, AC was a lower seed, meaning the team would travel – nearly always to Tyler, and nearly always experiencing disappointment in the championship match. In 2022, AC lost and had to settle for an at-large bid to nationals.
Not this year. The Apaches entered Friday’s finals match ranked No. 6 in the nation. Tyler has won the Region XIV conference title for several consecutive years. But here in 2023, the Roadrunners won the conference outright by finishing the season without a loss – thereby earning the host status.
After dispatching Blinn 4-1 in Wednesday’s semifinals at Angelina College, the ‘Runners sought to change the narrative created over the past few years.
AC did so in thrilling fashion. After conceding an early goal and trailing 1-0 at the half against the high-powered Apaches, the Roadrunners brought strikes of lightning late in the second half: Roadrunner sophomore Luan Rangel converted a penalty kick set up on some sweet offensive maneuvers from Christian Castaneda to even the score at 1-1 in the 81st minute.
Then, with just four minutes to play before the teams would have faced overtime, Castaneda drew another foul from the Apaches. Castaneda then blasted a free-kick goal past the Tyler wall and goalkeeper, giving the ‘Runners their final margin in the 2-1 victory.
The win means the Roadrunners have earned an automatic bid to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament starting on Sunday in Wichita, Kansas.
In addition, the berth makes the Roadrunner men’s soccer team the very first AC Athletics team in the college’s 55 years to qualify for a national tournament in consecutive seasons (AC’s men also qualified in 2022).
And to add to the list of accomplishments: Men’s soccer head coach Martin Melchor joins softball coach Brette Kohring as the only AC coaches on the college’s history to earn national tournament berths in their very first seasons as AC head coaches. (Kohring took her 2022 softball team to nationals in Oxford, Alabama.)
On Tuesday, AC will host an on-campus watch party in which the NJCAA will announce its seedings for the upcoming national tournament. Tuesday’s broadcast begins at 1 p.m., with the men’s bracket selection scheduled for 2 p.m. Location is TBA.
The tournament actually kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 12 at the Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita, Kansas. The NJCAA Network will live stream all the tournament matches.
The college will release more details after Tuesday’s selection show.
AC Basketball Teams Tip Off Regular Season
The real season is here.
After spending the entire month of October chasing pre-season scrimmages, both AC basketball teams tipped off their “real” seasons this week.
The Lady Roadrunners played three games this week, falling 74-69 Tuesday in Hill College, winning 67-38 over Western Gulf College in Friday’s opener of the McLennan Classic in Waco, and wrapping up the week with an 86-59 loss on Saturday to host McLennan College.
Saturday, the Roadrunner men threw up the ball on the 2023-2024 season, hosting Strength and Motion Red at Shands Gymnasium. AC overcame a sluggish start to the contest – the ‘Runners actually trailed at the half – to regroup for a 71-59 win at Shands Gymnasium.
Freshman Kai’Ree Murray came off the bench to lead the ‘Runners in scoring with 21 points. Cade Holzman added 12 points; Kyle Morgan, Xavier Owens and Nehikare Igiehon each chipped in with 10 points.
Patrick Johnson’s all-around game included four points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Roadrunners host a home game against Honor Armour’s Lions at 5 p.m. Monday at Shands Gymnasium.
The Lady Roadrunners host their home opener at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Grayson College.
All basketball games are live-streamed on the Angelina College Athletics YouTube channel (roadrunner_athletics).
AC Softball Hosts Halloween Game
There was a Snooki sighting, along with a sumo wrestler – and some characters no one even bothered trying to name.
The Lady Roadrunner softball team ditched their uniforms in lieu of Halloween costumes for a quick exhibition on Tuesday (Halloween Night).
Later in the week, the team went back to its traditional uniforms for a series of fall games. AC will close out its fall season with a home game starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9 at Lady Roadrunner Field on the AC campus.
Both the AC softball and men’s soccer programs will be hosting ID showcases (tryouts) in the very near future. Keep checking your email for updates, or simply visit the Angelina College Athletics website (www.angelinaathletics.edu) or visit AC on the AC Athletics Facebook page. Fans can also find us on Twitter (@ACAthletics).
The email address for AC’s Sports Information Director is email@example.com.