A valiant effort against a perennial winner ended in a heartbreaking loss by the Southwestern Assemblies of God University menís soccer team.
Huston-Tillotson University, a longtime Lions nemesis, scored an unlikely goal with eight seconds left in overtime to escape with a 1-0 win.
After two scoreless halves, the game appeared destined for a second overtime.†
The visiting Rams won possession near the sideline 30 yards from the goal when 15 seconds remained.
A pass inside the box to Christian Cruz was softly tapped to Jeminson Mejia.
Facing a SAGU defender chest-to-chest, about seven yards out, the ball bounced in behind him on his right. Mejia managed to lift up his right foot with a backward kick and lifted the ball up and over both the defender and a screened Lions keeper Cesar Galvan for the games only goal with a few ticks left on the clock.
The game was played at a fast pace, end to end, with both teams battling for possession. The flow saw plenty of shots, but few were quality chances.
SAGU countered the Rams well throughout the game by marking them and challenging each pass.†
The Lions are quicker and more athletic than last yearís team and were up to the challenge most of the match. They allowed only six shots in the first half.
The first solid chance for the Lions to break the deadlock occurred in the 58th minute. Jonathan Ramos entered the scoring zone and gathered a centered pass from the left side.
Eight yards away, he booted a shot into an open lane only to have a Rams defender make a kick save.
The Rams began to intensify their attacks down the stretch, but several opportunities went awry as the Rams seemed to rush shots.
SAGUís speedy and agile back line, retooled this year by head coach Clem Oancea, was tough to beat. Galvanís cat-quick reflexes in the net forced the Rams to shoot high.
Then the Lions countered with a late flurry. A cross to an open Jonathan Ramirez, of Red Oak, closed rapidly before he could apply much leather to his kick.
One minute later his brother, Joel Ramirez, also of Red Oak, weaved through three players and deep into the box. Again the Rams recovered, deflecting his shot out of harmís way.
SAGUís top two threats, Lee Kounas and Robert Ambrosie, a pair of sophomores, were shutout. The latter wasnít able to play until the closing minutes. Kounas was blanketed by the Ramsí defense.
HT almost delivered a sudden death goal at 5:30 in extra time. Ivan Vazquez missed high into an exposed side of the goal mouth.
SAGU registered 10 shots, eight on goal. The Lions had three corner kicks.
The Lions (3-3) will be in action again Thursday on the raod at the University of Houston at Victoria. SAGU will be home again Saturday to face Oklahoma City University.