Baylor edges out UTSA in final non-conference outing

WACO, Texas – In a fast, physical game on Sunday night at Betty Lou Mays Field, the UTSA Roadrunners (5-3-2) fell in a tightly-contested 1-0 finish at Baylor (5-3-1), in the final non-conference matchup before jumping fully into American Athletic Conference play next week. After the Bears edged in front early, the Roadrunners battled aggressively for the remaining 71 minutes, but couldn’t collect the equalizer.

Coming out fast in Sunday night’s contest, the Roadrunners proved aggressive in staying on the Bears’ half throughout the opening half – spending 67 percent of their attack time in Baylor territory. The effort produced some early opportunities via a pair of early shots and four corner kicks in the opening 10 minutes. However, the Baylor defense disrupted UTSA’s flow and limited the Roadrunners’ opportunities to finishes on chances.

Slow starters in venturing into UTSA territory, the Bears were virtually boarded off from UTSA’s half in the first seven minutes, but the Baylor offense quickly ramped once some deeper runs started to materialize. After freshman keeper Jasmine Kessler deflected one solid shot, the Bears used a corner kick that Tyler Isgrig served long to give Ashley Merrill a clean shot to score the game-winner on the back side of the goal in the 19th minute.

After the halftime break, the Roadrunners made adjustments to better disrupt the Baylor attack and created better opportunities – outshooting the Bears 9-3 in the second half. However, the Bears' defense kept UTSA from knotting things up. Collecting the first shot on the night, Sasjah Dade continued to be an aggressive leader for the Roadrunners – taking a team-high four shots against the Bears. In addition to moving the ball up the field consistently, Olivia Alvarez also took three shots.

In goal, Kessler finished with four saves for a season high in her fourth consecutive start.

Though it doesn’t appear on the stat sheet, Sabrina Hillyer gave the Bears fits, creating numerous chances while racing up and down the flank with quality play in both facets.

Quoting Coach Derek Pittman
“Really happy with how our team took on the challenge after a less-than-ideal performance against Tulsa on Thursday. To bounce back like this, this is something we can build off of going into this week. There’s a lot of positive things to take away from tonight, we just need to be better in front of goal. I thought we created better chances tonight against a really good Baylor team than we did earlier in the week."

UP NEXT: It’s a massive week at home with only a single contest on the slate, welcoming two-time defending AAC champion Memphis to the Park West Athletic Complex on Thursday for Greek Life Night. Sitting at 7-1 after defeating UT Martin on Sunday, the Tigers rank 14th in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll; 13th in TopDrawerSoccer’s latest rankings.

- UTSA -