By GARY STALLARD
It only feels as if it’s been a long time coming.
In reality, the Angelina College Roadrunner men’s soccer program has only existed for three short years – barely enough time to establish roots, much less high expectations. There have been plenty of heart-breaking losses, with so many of those by a single goal.
That’s why Saturday’s 1-0 win over No. 4 Tyler Junior College set off such a wild celebration. After three years, the Roadrunners finally had their very first win over a ranked opponent.
Jack Price leapt the Tyler keeper on a blocked shot and smoked the ball into the net in the 59th minute for the match’s lone goal, but the work from AC’s back line – including Roadrunner keeper Sven Van den Oever –helped secure the program’s biggest win to date.
Brad Lowes, Usman Sotomi, Joe Estrada and others continually pushed back on every Apache scoring run, with Van den Oever slapping away two critical saves late in the match. When Van den Oever went down with an injury with just 28 seconds to play, Shane Wallace stepped in and, along with the rest of the defense, held off Tyler’s final charge.
The win gave the Roadrunners just their second two-match winning streak of the season. More importantly, the win lifted AC into a tie with Coastal Bend Community College for the fourth-place spot in the Region XIV standings. The conference tournament at the end of the month will feature the league’s top four teams, and with five matches remaining in the regular season (all of those on the road), the Roadrunners have an opportunity to qualify for the post season for the first time in the program’s brief history.
Earlier in the day, the Roadrunner women fell 3-0 to No. 2 Tyler.
Both AC teams celebrated Sophomore Day in pre-match ceremonies. Roadrunner women playing in their final home games were Eva Phillips, Italli Suarez, Stefany Lopez, Bety Hernandez, Makayla Lewis, Jasmin Keller, Savannah Keziah, Bailey Bowers, Daisy de Boer and Sasha Moreira.
Roadrunner men sophomores seeing their home finale were Elmer Hernandez, Jose Estrada, Fernando Marquez, Bryan Nunez, Brad Lowes, Matthew Lannan, Usman Sotomi, Eldi Seiti, Javier Montes and Mikolaj Stan.
Both AC teams will play at Paris College on Friday beginning with the women’s match at 4 p.m.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is email@example.com.