Next, onto a group that contends year in and year out, The TAMUC Lions Soccer team.
- When excellence is your standard, it can be kind of hard to accept a 12-4-1 record when you fall short of your goals, which is to get into the National Tournament each year and compete for a LSC title. This season was by no means a bad season, this is what the Lions produce basically every year. Finished second overall, but fell to West Texas in the first round of the LSC conference. Still when you have the record that this group had, it is still going to hurt not making the postseason, which leads to point 2.
- This team completely got hosed out of a NCAA playoff birth. 4 teams from the LSC went to the NCAA tournament and this squad was not one of them. I had no idea how this could have happened other than the regional strength of schedule, which is completely asinine to make a case for or against going to the playoffs. This squad was the second best in the conference and this does not make any kind of sense. Lets look at the record.
Angelo State 9-2-1 28 13-5-1 0.711 L2 6-2-1 6-1-0 1-2-0 Texas A&M-Commerce 8-3-1 25 12-4-3 0.711 L1 9-1-0 3-2-3 0-1-0 West Texas A&M 5-3-4 19 11-7-5 0.587 L1 6-1-3 3-6-2 2-0-0 Midwestern State 6-5-1 19 11-8-1 0.575 L5 7-5-0 4-2-1 0-1-0 Eastern New Mexico 3-5-4 13 5-9-6 0.400 L1 2-3-3 3-6-2 0-0-1 Texas Woman’s 3-6-3 12 6-9-4 0.421 L1 5-2-3 1-7-1 0-0-0 UT Permian Basin 1-11 3 1-15-1 0.088
So, of the top 4 teams, 3 made the National tournament, but it was the 1, 3, and 4th place teams. NO sense.
- This is a YOUNG team. With only 2 seniors leaving the squad, look for the players that have had the impact on this year’s squad to make that a personal point to build on the success of this years team. But, this squad CURRENTLY is loaded. The Lions put 4 players on the LSC first team that is capped at 11 members, and only one of them graduates. They also placed another two on the LSC second team. Half of your starting lineup is all LSC. That should scare opponents and encourage fans.
- I am interested to see what the new class of incoming freshman and transfers holds for next year’s club. Neil Piper knows how to recruit and he brings in some fantastic players. He identifies talent about as well as any coach in any sport and at any level is capable of. Usually he brings in 1-2 very good transfers and a handful of Freshman who contribute right away. One thing I have noticed is that if Piper recruits you, he expects that you can play then and there. He only has so many scholarships to give out, he wants talent and people who can win for him, and it shows in the results.
- It is nice to know that despite all of the major improvements of all the other sports, this squad has done what it has always done, which is to win and be a contender. The past 5 years the Lions have had 3 LSC titles and 4 NCAA Division 2 playoff appearances. Based on what they have coming back, if I was the rest of the LSC, I would watch out, this group will be back and hungry.