For more than 80 minutes, the Angelina College Roadrunners experienced just about every frustration a soccer team could possibly experience. Missed shots, missed opportunities and an offensive attack thwarted time again by a solid opposing defense.
When the breaks finally arrived, the ‘Runners nailed them down in a big way.
With Tyler holding a 1-0 lead for more than 60 minutes, AC’s Luan Rangel converted a penalty kick to even the match at 1-1 in the 82nd minute, and Christian Castaneda followed with the eventual game-winner on a free kick in the 87th minute to lift the No. 6 Roadrunners to a 2-1 win over No. 7 Tyler Junior College in Friday’s Gulf South District Championship at Angelina College.
Not only is it an AC soccer program’s first outright district championship – the men finished as runners-up in 2022- but the ‘Runner soccer team also becomes the very first team in Angelina College athletics history to appear in a national tournament in consecutive seasons.
As expected, both teams on the pitch Friday waged an all-out battle. Earlier this season, the Roadrunners and Apaches battled to a 1-1 draw.
On Friday, there would be no tie. And just when it seemed the teams might be heading toward overtime and possibly penalty kicks to decide a winner, AC’s offense turned things around quickly.
Castaneda’s run through the box and ensuing Apache penalty set up Rangel with the dramatic penalty kick. After a long stare down with the Tyler keeper, Rangel scraped the post just enough to keep the ball out of reach, and the match was tied at 1-1.
Castaneda was the catalyst for the winner, drawing another foul at the top of the box and setting up his free kick, which he blasted through the Apache defense and the keeper.
The Roadrunners will learn next week of their seeding for the upcoming NJCAA Division I National Tournament scheduled to kick off in Wichita, Kansas on Nov. 12.
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