Roadrunners Fall in Tournament Opener

Date:

Cowley Hands AC First Loss of Season

WICHITA, KS – The Angelina College Roadrunners had gone the entire 2023 season without tasting defeat a single time, rolling to a 13-0-2 record on their way to a berth in the NJCAA Division 1 National Tournament.

Their first taste was a bitter one, with the ‘Runners falling to Cowley College 3-1 in Monday’s pool play match in Wichita, Kansas.

Cowley, which lost to Monroe College after double overtime and penalty kicks on Sunday, played with enough desperation against AC to build a couple of quick early strikes. The Tigers’ Yuki Nakamura scored twice in the first half and finished the hat trick with another in the second to lead Cowley.

Nakamura scored on a header in the 13th minute, then followed with a kick in front of the box in the 26th minute to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead at the half.

However, the Roadrunners built up a head of steam in the half’s final minutes, with Kaito Ueki having a pair of point-blank shots turned away from some exceptional Cowley defensive play.  

Angelina College’s Kaito Ueki (22) rips a shot toward the net during Monday’s match against Cowley College. The Roadrunners fell 3-1 in their opener of pool play at the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament in Wichita, KS. (Gary Stallard/AC Athletics photo)

AC carried the momentum into the second half. Moments after just missing on a free kick, the Roadrunners’ Omar Mora took a beautiful feed from Ueki to head home AC’s first goal in the 51st minute, cutting the Cowley lead to 2-1.

Angelina College’s Omar Mora (10) blasts a kick toward the goal during Monday’s match against Cowley College. The Roadrunners fell 3-1 in their opener of pool play at the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament in Wichita, KS. (Gary Stallard/AC Athletics photo)

Continuing to press the attack, the ‘Runners seemed on the verge of evening the match until Nakamura found the net for the third time in the 63rd minute. AC’s last few attacks came up empty, leaving the team with its first loss of the season.

The Roadrunners will face Monroe on Tuesday, needing a win by at least three goals to win their pool and advance to Thursday’s semifinals.

Kickoff on Tuesday is at 5:30 p.m. The match will be live-streamed on the NJCAA Network (a subscription service).

Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

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