The 2006 SAGU mens soccer team did something they had not done in five years — qualify for the Red River Conference Tournament.
Second year head coach Jeremy Tosaya does not intend to have that hiatus last as long this time around.
Yet, the goal for 2007 is to lay a foundation and develop a style of play that will make qualification an annual event.
The 3-13-2 overall record was not as pleasing to Coach Tosaya as the trip to the tournament was.
However, with a two key conference wins late in the season, and quality play against the eventual conference champions, the team forced finished on a strong note.
To get back to the RRAC tournament, the 2007 squad must overcome the losses of key players.
Chase Bishop, a Red River Second Team All-Conference selection, led the team in goals (8) and in assists (4).
Dallas Horne, who is the Lion's all-time goals leader (38) played both goalie and forward at times last season, spending more time between the pipes.
In limited time to roam field, Horne scored five goals late in games. As goalie, Horne averaged over 10 saves per game.
Now the Lions will turn to returners Girien Salazar and Keith Morris for leadership.
Keith Morris was a Bacone Soccer Classic All-Tournament selection last year, and Girien was a solid starter on the wing.
Coach Tosaya is expecting newcomers, Ennis all-district selection Jovani Rangel and Commerce goals leader Jeremy Burge, to replace the scoring ability of Chase Bishop and Dallas Horne.
These two newcomers are not the only threats to put the ball in the back of the net; Danny Martinez, Bryan King, and Jorge Solano are also expected to contribute to the teams efforts.
Tosaya believes the presence of returnees Josh Walters, Nolan Jones, and Jonathan Woods coupled with newcomers Tommy Lieng and TJ Dearman will round out the team.
The objective of this years recruited class was to solidify the middle of the field.
With Martinez, King, and Solano being added to the talent of Morris and Salazar the midfield should be a place of strength and ball control for the Lions in 2007. This will help them to control the game and develop their attack for more scoring opportunities.
Coach Tosaya believes the best thing this team has to offer is their youthfulness.
With only three seniors on this years team it allows the Lions to establish a new tradition of play that Coach Tosaya believes will help the return to the conference tournament much more imminent this time around.