AC soccer

Angelina College’s Bety Hernandez fights off a Western Texas defender during Sunday’s match. On Wednesday, Angelina College announced it was suspending the 2020 soccer season.

Angelina College has announced the suspension of the fall 2020 soccer season because of the ongoing risks associated with COVID-19. The announcement includes both the women’s and men’s programs, with hopes of resuming action in the fall of 2021.

Both AC soccer teams earned postseason berths in 2019, with the men’s team notching the first playoff win for either squad after beating Blinn College 5-4 in the Region XIV semifinals in November.

The Lady Roadrunner program has qualified for the conference tournament in each of its first four years of existence.

AC president Michael Simon, who was a driving force in establishing the soccer programs at the college upon his arrival in 2016, said the decision to suspend the program for a season was difficult but correct.

“I’ve enjoyed watching the growth of the program, especially with the number of local athletes combined with our international athletes,” Simon said. “It’s been a very positive experience within our community.

“Unfortunately, the current concerns with the coronavirus and its impact on all our lives made it necessary to forego the season for this year. The safety and well-being of our students and staff will always be the driving force in our decisions.

“We look forward to 2021, and we hope the overall situation improves enough to allow our soccer teams to resume competing.”

Head coach Nataki Stewart, who enters his first year at the helm of AC’s soccer programs, said he considers the news a temporary setback.

“Of course we’re disappointed,” Stewart said, “but it’s the right decision for our student athletes. We felt we were going to have two great teams competing this season, and I’m certainly disappointed for those players.

“But we won’t stay down for long. We’re already working toward building ourselves up for next year. We’ll be ready.”

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