Soccer takes opening weekend split
09.03.2014 | By John Bechtle, for sanjacsports.com
Media Contact: Amanda L. Booren
A sluggish start to the regular season may have cost the San Jacinto College men’s soccer team on opening night, but head coach Ian Spooner isn't about to lose any sleep as his program takes a mini break before the start of conference play.
In a battle of national heavyweights, host Richland scored a pair of goals in the opening 12 minutes of play before landing a late goal over San Jacinto College Aug. 29 in the season opener in Dallas.
The result was a 3-1 win for Richland, avenging a 2013 defeat against the locals.
San Jac rebounded the following day for an easy 4-0 win over Mountain View, also in Dallas. Derrick Gonzales had a pair of goals in the win as San Jacinto College evened its early season mark at 1-1.
Spooner knew facing Richland, ranked No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III ranks to open the season, would be an eye-opener for his young squad.
With 18 newcomers on the roster supported by just a few holdovers, San Jacinto College figured to learn some things about collegiate soccer against Richland. The lessons came early.
“Give Richland credit,” Spooner said. “They came out early and took it to us. They know how we play, and they did a god job of being aggressive early and disrupting what we do. We came out slow. Some of the freshmen in the back came out of the gate perhaps not as ready to go as we would have liked. Those things happen, especially with a young team. The jump to collegiate soccer from high school is a big one. In that respect, it was a good learning experience.”
Roberto Diaz Fernandez scored for the locals in the second half to close the gap, but Richland tallied another score late to hold on for the win.
“Last year we fell down 2-0 to Richland but fought back to win 3-2 with an experienced and deep roster helping us,” Spooner noted. “This year, we don’t have that experience, and we’re still looking for that natural goal scorer up top. We’ll get there.”
San Jac did get the 4-0 win over Mountain View the following day with Gonzales, a Sam Rayburn High School graduate, starring.
Still, Spooner saw opportunities for more on the offensive end. In his mind, the scoreboard could have changed several more times in favor of his team. Nonetheless, opening weekend is complete and San Jac will move forward.
The program now has an open weekend coming and will not play again until Sept. 12-13 with consecutive conference games against Paris and Northeast Texas, which is off to a 4-0 start.
“It’ll be good for the guys to have a little break here,” Spooner said. “We played four scrimmages leading up to the start of the season and then the two back-to-back games. Really, we’ve been pushing hard for a month now. With school starting, we’ll take a little break and prepare for those conference matches. Those are always big. We’ll take this thing to smooth out the little things. It’s a long season.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 credit students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career and workforce preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.