NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The UTSA soccer team (5-2-1) turned in a commanding second-half performance on Sunday at the Lumberjacks’ Chopping Block, trouncing Stephen F. Austin (1-7) to deliver the first road victory of the 2023 season with a 3-0 win. A flurry of goals from Brittany Holden (18’), Jordyn Hyland (58’) and Sophie Morrin (63’) provide UTSA back-to-back win momentum heading into the American Athletic Conference opener next week at Tulsa.
It was a relief for the Roadrunners to be playing in mid-80s temperatures in East Texas on Sunday, and a relief to not only score the season’s first road goal but capture the first victory away from Park West. UTSA went to work early on the Lumberjacks, as Jordan Walker pulled the ball across the middle from the right flank in the 18th minute to Sasjah Dade, who quickly reversed the ball back to Holden for the shot into the back of the net past a diving Bradley Redd – marking the first road goal of the season and the first collegiate goal for the true freshman.
With a narrow possession deficit in the opening half, 51-49 in SFA’s favor, the Roadrunners were only able to create four shot opportunities in the half. A midfield scrap for the first 45 minutes, 85 percent of UTSA’s possessions remained in the midfield – UTSA seeing just four percent of possessions reach the attacking third.
Coming out of the half, the game completely changed as UTSA amped up the pressure on the Lumberjacks in both facets of the game. In fact, the Roadrunners fired off two more shots in the first 20 minutes of the second half than in the first half combined – six to be exact. Among those were a pair of opportunities to create some cushion. First, Hyland received a long SFA clearance and fired it back past Redd into the left side of the net in the 58th minute for her first score of the year. Then, a mere five minutes later, in the 63rd minute UTSA showed how deadly its set pieces can be, as Hyland’s perfectly-placed corner set Deja Sandovalfor a touch-pass over to Morrin, who buried the shot behind Redd – with Morrin notching her team-leading third goal of the year for the 3-0 lead.
Making her second career start, freshman goalkeeper Jasmine Kessler was active beyond the keeper’s box to bury numerous chances before opportunities could form and registered three saves, UTSA’s defense completely handled Stephen F. Austin after halftime. The Lumberjacks produced only a single second-half shot in the 84th minute, allowing the Roadrunners to run away with a 12-6 shot differential and possession time after aggressively controlling the pace in the midfield.
Dade, Marlee Fray and Olivia Alvarez each topped the UTSA shot counts with two apiece, while eight different Roadrunners took shots.
Quoting Coach Derek Pittman
“It's never easy to win on the road and it took a lot of grit and toughness today versus a quality SFA team. We didn't play particularly well in the first half, but our players adjusted on the fly, doing what we needed to do to be up 1-0 at half. The mentality and effort in the second half was fantastic from our whole team and it feels really good to get our first road win of the season. We will take the things we did well and prepare for our first AAC match at Tulsa on Thursday.”
UP NEXT: After SFA, the Roadrunners will spend the next two contests on the road, away from Park West for another 11 days. It’s a crucial week for the Roadrunners, who are looking to start their inaugural American Athletic Conference slate with a win, heading to Tulsa next Thursday for the league opener. Closing out the week, UTSA will get its second chance at a victory over a Big 12 foe, heading to Waco to take on Baylor on Sunday night. Tulsa (2-6) defeated Central Arkansas on the road, 2-0, on Sunday, while Baylor is 3-2-1 and faces Abilene Christian on Sunday evening at home.
- UTSA -