Aviles earns Player of the Week soccer honor from the SLC

Alexus Aviles

Lamar University sophomore Alexus Aviles was named the Southland Conference Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts against UTEP and New Mexico State over the Labor Day weekend.

Aviles had two goals, including the game-winner, in a 3-2 win over UTEP on Sept. 4 and followed that up with two more goals in a 4-3 loss at New Mexico State on Sept. 11. For the season, Aviles leads the Southland Conference with five goals, which is good for 14th in the nation.

“Alexus deserves the award. She had a tremendous week,” said head coach Orlando Cervantes. “She has really picked up her game and is playing with a lot of confidence.”

The native of Lakewood, Calif., leads the Cardinals with 16 shots and 10 shots on goal. For her career, she has 14 points on six goals and two assists. It was the first Player of the Week award for Aviles.

The Cardinals (3-3) return to action at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11 with a non-conference game at North Texas before hosting Alcorn State in a non-conference game on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m.

Cross country

Lamar runner Verity Ockenden was named as the Southland Conference’s Women’s Athlete of the Week after her second-place finish at the Texas A&M Opener.

She led the Cardinals with a 13:57.6 time in the 4.1k race on Sept. 4 by running second in a field of 32 that featured runners from Texas A&M and UTSA. Karis Jochen of Texas A&M won the event in 13:33.9.

“The end result was because of her good execution of the race plan that we set up earlier in the week,” said cross country coach Tony Houchin. “She and Evelyn (Chavez) worked well together throughout the race, and ended at the front together.” 

Chavez was fourth in the meet on a 14:06.7 mark.

Ockenden’s time was a personal best that beat her 4.1k time of 14:27.1 at the Texas A&M Invitational in 2014.

LU will next compete Sept. 11 in Houston at the Rice Invitational.

The men’s team finished second of three teams at the Texas A&M Opener. Newcomer Gabriel Steffenson finished fifth, just ahead of teammate Alex Dunbar in sixth. Steffenson ran the 6K race in 18:18.2 and Dunbar at 18:23, which was a career best.


Lowly Bacone College, who sported plain uniforms and no logos on their helmets, was no match for the Lamar football Cardinals as the Red Birds opened the 2015 season with a 66-3 win on Sept. 5 at Provost Umphrey Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 9,668. Due to LU’s lead at halftime, both head coaches and the officials agreed to play only 10-minute quarters in the second half.

Lamar may feel Bacone’s woes this weekend when the Cards travel to Waco to face No. 4 Baylor (1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s contest will be the fourth meeting between the two schools, and its first since the 1981 season when LU recorded a stunning one-point victory over the Bears in Waco.

The Bears were coming off a Southwest Conference Championship the year before, and climbed to as high as sixth in the polls before ending the year ranked 14th. The game was a back-and-forth affair that saw LU kicker Mike Marlow drill a 42-yard field goal with 3 seconds on the clock for the 18-17 victory. The win still stands as one of the biggest upsets in school history. The Cards trail the all-time series to Baylor, 2-1.


The Lady Cards (5-3) went 2-2 last weekend at the Delta Zeta Classic in San Marcos, defeating both Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern, 3-0, while losing 3-0 to Indiana and Texas State.

LU will travel to Ruston, La., to compete in the Louisiana Tech Invitational playing Southern University on Sept. 11 at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Cards will then play UL Monroe at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12 and Louisiana Tech that afternoon at 7 p.m.

Strength and conditioning

Director of Athletics Jason Henderson announced that Cory Castro has been named LU’s strength and conditioning coach.

“We’re happy to name Cory as our head strength and conditioning coach,” Henderson said. “Since he arrived on campus, he has developed great relationships with all of our coaches. That, to go along with his experience, made this a very easy decision.”

Castro, who is in his second year at LU, spent last season with the Cardinals as the assistant strength and conditioning coach after serving two years as a graduate assistant coach at Louisiana-Monroe.

A 2011 graduate of John Carroll University in Ohio, Castro was a four-year letterman in football for the Blue Streaks, earning all-conference honors in 2011. He served as an intern at Kent State and as an assistant at the University of Texas before heading to Louisiana-Monroe, where he earned a Master of Science degree in 2012. While at Louisiana-Monroe, he also did a six-month internship with the Gayle Hatch Weightlifting Club.

In addition to managing the development of LU’s football program, Castro also oversees a strength staff responsible for designing and implementing scientifically based strength and conditioning programs for the university’s Olympic sports.

Castro is certified by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Association (SCCC) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS). He also has a United States Weightlifting Federation (USAW) Level I Sports Performance Coach Certification.


— Compiled by Chad Cooper