PHILADELPHIA – The 60-degree temperatures may have been on the cold side for the Roadrunners, but the offense was hot on Sunday at the Temple Sports Complex. The UTSA soccer team (6-6-3, 1-3-2 AAC) delivered its first program American Athletic Conference victory in downing Temple (2-10-3, 0-6-0 AAC), 2-0, on the strength of goals from Jordan Walker (8’) and Michelle Polo (84’), to end this week’s conference road swing with a victory and a draw.
The Roadrunners commanded the pace and movement in the opening half, also taking control on the scoreboard early in the first half. Freshman forward Sophie Morrinwas a scoring catalyst after poking the ball away from an Owls midfielder and transferring possession to junior midfielder Jordyn Hyland, who pushed the ball ahead to Walker slicing up the middle of the 18-yard box. As Walker moved right, she pulled Temple goalkeeper Taylor Vecchione with her, exposing the upper left corner for a goal strike and the early lead at just the eighth minute. The score marks Walker’s second goal of the week, her second career game-winner and moves her into a tie for the team lead with three goals on the year.
Though Temple was able to maintain a weighty possession lead, 59-41, UTSA pressed heavily and kept the ball in the midfield – only allowing the Owls eight percent of their opportunities to reach the attacking third. In contrast, UTSA spent 27 percent of its attacking time in the Owls’ box.
Both teams ramped up their attacks in the second half, but UTSA didn’t find the back of the net again until the 84th minute. Freshman goalkeeper Jasmine Kessler dropped a free kick into the box, where freshman Hannah Warnken used a header to shoot it across to classmate Michelle Polo for her first collegiate goal, and the 2-0 UTSA lead.
In addition to executing numerous free kicks, Kessler got a workout in goal as she registered a career-best six saves on the afternoon – on top of the assist.
Though the Roadrunners didn’t top the Owls in overall possession, they did come out on top of shot differential, 10-9, placing seven shots on target. Junior midfielder Olivia Alvarez
Quoting Coach Derek Pittman
“Huge Performance by our entire team today. Temple isn't an easy place to play, and our ladies carried out the game plan very well. Our staff and players are extremely happy to come out of this difficult road trip with our first AAC win and four points in the conference standings. We are ready to be back in San Antonio for our final two home matches next week. We need all of our 2-1-0 supporters to pack Park West this coming week for Senior Day and our annual Pink Game."
With a successful road trip in the books, UTSA will next take the field back home at Park West on Thursday with Florida Atlantic coming to town for a Senior Day matchup. Back on friendly ground, the Roadrunners are 4-2 at home this season and 16-4-4 (.750) across the past three seasons. UTSA will close off the week hosting South Florida for the annual Pink Out for breast cancer awareness. FAU tied with North Texas in their own Senior Day game on Sunday, coming to San Antonio at 6-5-4 (2-2-2 AAC).
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