By GARY STALLARD
They shrugged off a tumultuous week that included a head coaching change. They ignored a recent scoring drought. And they came within one score of tying the program record for goals in a single game.
The Angelina College Roadrunner men’s soccer team accomplished all that on Friday, outshooting Coastal Bend Community College 8-4 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin.
While interim head coach Matt Hubert eased his way into the routine, assistant coaches Fergus O’Connor and Alex Zaroyan devised a game plan the Roadrunner executed to near-perfection. Ulises Mercado netted a hat trick while providing an assist; Scott Gray scored and dished out two assists; and Alex Rubio, Matt Gayle, Ed Alderson and Usman Sotomi each added goals in the big conference win. Rubio, Brad Lowes, Sean Viron and Taurayi Tugwete also contributed assists.
After the Cougars scored early on a breakaway goal, Mercado evened the score at 1-1 on a penalty kick in the 25th minute. One minute later, Mercado scored on a touch from Bryan Nunez; two minutes later, Mercado fed Alex Rubio for a score and a 3-1 AC lead. The Cougars scored again just before the half for a 3-2 AC lead at the break.
The Roadrunners weren’t finished attacking the net. Brad Lowes drew a foul in the box in the 50th minute, and Gray converted the penalty kick. Thirty seconds later, Gayle blasted home a long-distance goal from the right side. When Coastal Bend answered with two quick goals to draw to within a score at 5-4, the Roadrunners stepped on the gas and pulled away, getting Mercado’s third goal in the 73rd minute, Sotomi’s header for a score in the 74th minute and Alderson’s goal off a Gray corner in the 81st minute.
The Roadrunners (3-5, 2-4) get right back to work on Saturday, hosting conference foe Laredo College at 4 p.m. at Abe Martin Stadium. The Roadrunner women face No. 9 Navarro College at 2 p.m.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is email@example.com.