Source: Wayland Baptist College) Texas- On a cold West Texas day, Travis Somersall of the much warmer St. Kitts, Nevis, scored two goals to lead No. 13 Wayland Baptist to a 3-0 victory over St. Gregory’s University in a Sooner Athletic Conference match Tuesday evening at J.V. Hilliard Field.
Wayland (10-2-1, 5-1-0 SAC) dropped three spots from No. 10 in Tuesday’s NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 poll after splitting two SAC matches last weekend. The Pioneers’ first loss in nearly two months came at the hands of Northwood University on Thursday, and WBU head coach Jamath Shoffner said there was a major difference in his team on Tuesday than the one that showed up last Thursday in Cedar Hill.
“The guys came out with a much better mentality today,” Shoffner said. “We concentrated and knew what we wanted to do tactically, and we executed very well.”
St. Gregory’s (5-5-1, 1-3-1) was able to hold Wayland off for a while, but the potent Pioneer offense finally prevailed 18 minutes into the match.
Vitalis Atemafac played a through ball to Erik Luzanilla, who played a low cross to Somersall, who then sealed the deal with his third goal of the season to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead.
Wayland wouldn’t wait long to strike again as Atemafac again played a through ball, this time picked up by Somersall who kicked the ball across the goal to the bottom right-hand side, scoring his second goal of the match and doubling his season total.
The Pioneers went on to score once more, this time in the second half. Their third goal came courtesy of St. Greg’s as one of the Cavaliers inadvertently deflected the ball into his own goal. A very active Atemafac once again played a ball up field, this time to Luzanilla who beat a defender in the box and then made a nice cross in front of the net. The pass went off the chest of SGU’s Greg Keogh and into the goal, giving WBU a 3-0 advantage.
Despite the lopsided score, Shoffner said his squad had to compete against a solid St. Greg’s team.
“This St. Gregory’s team is very good and has had some quality results lately,” Shoffner said. “We knew coming in that tonight would be a tough, physical match. St. Greg’s style of play is tough to play against, but our guys did a good job of dictating the tempo of the game.”
With back-to-back wins following the end of their eight-match winning streak last week, the Pioneers are looking to start a new run. Wayland next travels to Siloam Springs, Ark., to take on John Brown University at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Shoffner knows that his team will have to be prepared for their long road trip against a talented John Brown squad.
“We know that John Brown is a very technical and skillful team,” he said. “They’ve probably had one of the toughest schedules of any SAC team so far.”
The Golden Eagles (6-6, 2-2) have played three ranked teams thus far — No. 4 Oklahoma Wesleyan, No. 6 Benedictine, No. 17 MidAmerica Nazarene – as well as USAO, which recently fell out of the Top 25. JBU fell to all four of those quality teams, accounting for two-thirds of its losses.
“We know that we’re going to have our hands full on Saturday,” Shoffner reiterated.