SAN ANTONIO – The UTSA soccer team (6-7-4, 1-4-3 AAC) squared off with South Florida (9-5-2, 5-1-2 AAC) in a pure defensive battle during the final home game of the season at Park West on Sunday afternoon. The Bulls netted a goal with just 21 seconds remaining in the first half and preserved the lead through the final 45 minutes of Sunday’s low-shot affair. With the opening kickoff, senior Deja Sandovalclaimed the record as the most active Roadrunner in program history and UTSA capped off a new attendance record.
It seemed nobody would get within striking distance on Sunday as the scoreboard sat with no shots for either team into the 16th minute, when Jordyn Hylandwent high off a free kick.
The Bulls only notched a single shot going in the first half, but it proved to be consequential. On Vivianne Bessette’s free kick in the final minute of the half, Madison Schwartzenberger missed on the header in traffic but found the ball for a straight kick into the left side of the net, marking the 1-0 South Florida lead with 44:38 on the first half clock.
Coming out of the half, the Roadrunners tallied three opportunities to knot things up, but Ultimately, were unable to net the equalizer despite shots from Marlee Fray, Sabrina Hillyer and Sasjah Dade.
All three of the Bulls’ second-half shots were on target and ended in Jasmine Kesslersaves.
Dade topped the UTSA counts with two shots on the afternoon. In total, UTSA outshot the Bulls 5-4, while South Florida notched four shots on goal.
Making her 86th appearance for the Roadrunners, Sandoval (Albuquerque, N.M.) rose above 2022 senior Lexi Bolton with the most career appearances in a Roadrunner uniform.
The Roadrunners also had yet another outstanding crown out at Park West, packing in 880 fans to snap the all-time program total attendance record previously set in 2007. Through eight games on the 2023 schedule, UTSA recorded a total attendance of 7,002 and an average of 875 fans per game – topping all American Athletic Conference schools.
Quoting Coach Derek Pittman
“Very proud of our team’s effort and how we defended and slowed a very dangerous USF team. We played this team back in 2019 and I don’t think we touched the ball more than a few times and they beat us 5-0. Last year, we played them at their place, and they had the ball for probably 75 percent of the game and beat us on a set piece. I take a tremendous amount of price in the fact that we’ve closed the gap on the rest of the league. I’m very proud of our team and their attitude and the effort they gave today, especially on the defensive side. We just weren’t dangerous enough around the goal with the few chances we did get. Against teams like that, where you’re not going to get a lot of chances, you’ve got to take the ones you get. We didn’t do that and they scored on a free kick right before half, which is absolutely gutting with how well we were playing in the half. We’ll have to take a look and see where we are in the league and prepare ourselves to go out and give everything we have at Rice on Thursday.”
The regular season finale looms next week, as UTSA travels to Houston to face Rice on Thursday at Holloway Field. The Owls dropped to 3-21-2 and 1-6-1 in the AAC with a 1-0 loss to Florida Atlantic on Thursday.