AC News Service/Gary Stallard
LUFKIN, TX (Press Release)- First they honored the sophomores on Sophomore Night. Then the Lady Roadrunners clinched a playoff berth in their very first season.
And then Freddy Drago got himself a celebratory ice-water bath from his guys.
All of it added up to the greatest night in Angelina College soccer history – for two programs in their first years of existence – as the Lady ‘Runners edged Jacksonville College 1-0 and the Roadrunners earned their program’s first-ever win by holding off the Jaguars 2-1 in a true nail biter.
Kennedy Sessions accounted for the Lady Roadrunners’ lone goal, striking a kick so hard it bounced off the Lady Jags goalkeeper, ricocheted off Kennedy and rolled into the net. The Lady ‘Runner defense did a superb job keeping the Lady Jags out of the wrong side of the pitch, and AC’s ladies laid claim to a post-season berth in the upcoming Region XIV conference tournament scheduled to begin next week. Saturday’s home game against Navarro College will determine whether AC enters as a No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
The Roadrunners also won in one-goal fashion. Julio Islas and Luis Garcia each scored a goal in the first half, and the AC defense did its part in keeping the Jaguars out of reach.
Then Jacksonville’s Claudio Barraza slipped one inside the AC defenders to bite into the Roadrunner lead, leaving the Jags trailing 2-1.
That’s when the nerves began jangling for the packed house of AC fans. AC got a big break in the 86th minute when a Jaguar misfired on an open net.
But the biggest break AC would get came with just 20 seconds left: A penalty in the box called on a Roadrunner set up a Jacksonville penalty kick. AC keeper Riley Thornton guessed right in his dive direction, but he could have held his spot, as the kick sailed over the crossbar. Twenty ticks later, and the Roadrunners and their fans were in full-blown celebration mode, with Drago willingly accepting his bath.
Playing in their final games as Roadrunners were Lalo Escareno, Fredie Barboza, Mickey Raine and Greg Rojo.
The Lady Roadrunners will take on Navarro College Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Jase Magers Field at Lufkin High School.