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Roadrunners kick off inaugural AAC slate Thursday at Tulsa

SAN ANTONIO – The Roadrunners are coming off a two-win week and collected the first road triumph of the year, but they’re headed back out for the American Athletic Conference opener this week. The UTSA soccer team (5-2-1) will travel to Tulsa (2-6) for Thursday’s league lid-lifter at 7 p.m. with a live broadcast on ESPN+ from Hurricane Stadium.

Broadcast and Live Stats

  • Thursday night’s game will air at 7 p.m. on ESPN+ for subscribers. Josh Haley (play-by-play) will be on the call.
  • Tulsa live stats can be found via HERE.

Catching up with the Roadrunners
Entering the first week of American Athletic Conference competition for any UTSA team in this inaugural season, the Roadrunners have just added a victory away from the house to their resume, after putting in a dominating 3-0 victory at Stephen F. Austin on Sunday. The win over the ‘Jacks capped off a two-victory week. The UTSA offense ramped up against Texas A&M-Commerce at home last Thursday, assuming a 2-0 lead after only three minutes of play via goals from
Alex Granville and Olivia Alvarez on a penalty kick. Sabrina Hillyer added a third at 17 minutes and UTSA induced a Commerce own goal to close out the TAMUC Lions, 4-1. Traveling to the Lumberjacks to close out the week, Brittany Holden gave UTSA the early lead after 18 minutes, while Jordyn Hyland and Sophie Morrin tacked on some insurance in the second half. A quick redirect by Sasjah Dade set up Holden perfectly. Hyland put back a long clearance and Deja Sandoval set the touch pass for Morrin to notch her third goal of the season. The Roadrunners both scored their first road goal and earned the first road victory of the year in defeating SFA in Nacogdoches.

Roadrunner Attack
Freshman forward Morrin separated herself a little further on Sunday as the first Roadrunner to reach three goals on the season, where she leads UTSA. Morrin has scored in each of her three on-target attempts out of seven total shots. Also adding a score to reach multiple goals, grad defender Hillyer now has a pair and has a clear lead on going into the opponents’ zone – racking up a team-high 15 shots to date, putting seven on target with a .467 SOG%. Next in line, Jordan Walker has 10 shots with five on target, while freshman Maddie Reynolds and grad transfer Maci Geltmeier have eight apiece. The Roadrunners are averaging 13.50 shots per game for sixth in the American Athletic Conference, while their 5.88 shots on target average is fifth in the AAC.

Lending a hand, junior midfielder Hyland has a team-high four assists, ranking fourth in the American Athletic Conference and 29th in the NCAA for total assists. Senior defender Granville also has three assists and ranks fifth in the AAC and 84th nationally. UTSA averages an AAC-third-best 2.50 assists per game (33rd NCAA) and are 22nd in the NCAA with an AAC-leading 20 assists. The Roadrunners are fourth in the league in total goals and total points, ranking 68th in the NCAA in goals.

UTSA has outscored opponents 15-6 this season and have only allowed multiple goals in two outings – a pair of 2-0 losses at K-State and Grand Canyon. So far, UTSA is holding a very healthy 108-61 shot differential over the opposition.

With UTSA’s defensive back line limiting opportunities and taking control of the midfield, UTSA’s three appearing goalkeepers hold a goals average against of 1.00 or less. A returning all-tournament honoree, junior Mia Krusinski has put in 450 minutes with 16 saves and a 3-2 record with two shutouts. Oregon State transfer Isobel Herrod picked up a start at Cal Baptist and maintained a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw. For both games last week, freshman Jasmine Kessler took the net, earning four saves while also sweeping out the 18-yard box before threats could materialize.

Head coach Derek Pittman is 44-37-13 (.537) in his sixth season at UTSA and 95-104-31 (.480) overall.

Back on Familiar Ground
UTSA head coach Derek Pittman is a Tulsa alum, but clearly isn’t favoring the home team on Thursday. Originally from Owasso, Oklahoma, Pittman was a four-year starter, team captain and All-Missouri Valley goalkeeper for the Hurricane. After graduation and a professional playing career, Pittman was a graduate assistant for the men’s program from 2001-03, working with one of the best goalkeepers in program history, Brent Salter.

Series history
Coaching alma mater aside, the Roadrunners and Hurricane have split their history at 1-1, playing to an 0-1 UTSA loss in Tulsa in 2013, followed by a commanding 3-0 Roadrunners win in Stillwater in 2021 for Pittman’s first meeting with his hometown school.

Scouting the Hurricane
Tulsa comes into Thursday’s league opener on a recent upturn. After starting the season 0-6, Tulsa reeled off a 4-0 victory over UTEP at home, then traveled to Central Arkansas to capture a 2-0 win on Sunday. Through the first six games, the Hurricane were outscored 16-2 in their losses, which include 1-0 setback to Stephen F. Austin and an 0-2 loss at Texas A&M-Commerce.

Freshman forward Leah Diaz and sophomore forward Jordan Frederick each have a pair of goals to lead the Hurricane. Diaz is the defending American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Frederick was on the AAC All-Rookie team last year and had four goals on the season. Meanwhile, senior midfielder Kayla Fernandez has fired off a team-high 19 shots with nine on target, ahead of local senior defender Madison Tokarchik with 13 takes and five on target.

In goal, Tulsa has used three keepers, but Tatum Sanders is the reigning American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Week and holds a 2-2 record, 1.25 GAA, 17 saves and a .733 save percentage. The sophomore was named to the AAC’s All-Rookie Team last year, with 50 saves in 12 games last year – earning five wins.

In three seasons at the helm after serving as a Tulsa assistant for 13 years, Jim Rhein is 15-22-5 (.417) for the Hurricane.

UP NEXT: Back to Texas for UTSA, but not to the friendly confines of Park West. The Roadrunners will travel north to Waco for a 12th program meeting with the Baylor Bears (4-2-1), who will square off with No. 16 Texas at home on Thursday.