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Roadrunners travel to Houston to face Rice on Thursday

SAN ANTONIO – The UTSA soccer team (6-7-4, 1-4-3 AAC) closes out the 2023 regular season on the road in Houston at Holloway Field, taking on the Rice Owls (3-12-2, 1-6-1 AAC) in an America Athletic Conference tilt. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday and the game is slated for broadcast on ESPN+.

Broadcast and Live Stats 

  • Thursday’s game will air at 6 p.m. on ESPN+ for subscribers. Matt Pederson (play-by-play) and Christine Nairm (analyst) will be on the call from Holloway Field.
  • Rice live stats can be found HERE. 

Catching up with the Roadrunners
A rare home loss over the past three years, on Sunday the Roadrunners fell to the South Florida Bulls after Madison Schwartzenberger missed on the free kick header but got her foot on the ball to score in the final 22 seconds of the first half - USF’s first shot of the opening 45. On Thursday, UTSA submitted one of its most complete performances of the season against FAU, but saw a scoreless draw at the final horn as Owls goalkeeper was in the zone while fending off a UTSA battery of shots – logging 11 saves on the night.

Into the History Books
Making her 86th appearance for the Roadrunners on Sunday against USF, senior defender Deja Sandoval (Albuquerque, N.M.) appeared in her 86th career game, taking over ownership of the school record from 2022 senior Lexi Bolton for the most career appearances in program history. In addition, adding the 880 fans from Sunday into the totals, UTSA snapped the all-time program total attendance record previously set in 2007 (6,634). 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 heading into Thursday’s conference-wide regular season finales. This year also ranks second on the all-time list for per-game average behind the 2007 season (948).

Offense at a Glance
UTSA averages 11.5 shots per game and 5.1 shots on goal per contest, recording a .441 shot-on-goal percentage. The Roadrunners also average 1.06 goals per game.
 Recording a season-high 11 corners last week against FAU, UTSA ranks 82nd nationally with 5.35 CK/game, listing at third in the AAC.
22 different UTSA players have taken a shot this season (71 percent of the 31-player roster).
21 individual players have taken an on-target shot and 12 different players have scored a goal this season.
Burleson, Texas junior forward Jordan Walker ties freshman Sophie Morrin with a team-high three goals, while firing off team-leading counts of 21 shots and 11 shots on goal. Walker leads all starters with a .524 SOG%.
 Graduate defender Sabrina Hillyer helps transition the ball from zone to zone and has also been active in the attack with 19 shots, eight on goal and two scores on a .421 SOG%
 Junior midfielder Olivia Alvarez also has 20 shots and nine shots on target with a .500 shot percentage and .450 SOG percentage.
 Junior midfielder Jordyn Hyland has five assists to lead the team, 93rd in the NCAA in assists per game (0.36) and 140th in total assists.
 UTSA ranks 106th with 24 total assists and 110th with 1.41 assists per contest.

Defensive Walls
 The Roadrunners defense has logged seven shutouts this season with seven one-score games also on the slate. 
 UTSA has the season advantage in shot differential, 195-131, with an 86-65 lead for on-target attempts, limiting the opposition to 0.76 goals per game - ranking 44th in the nation and third in the AAC.
 In contention for a potential freshman record (Allison McCabe, 1.01, 2007), Jasmine Kessler has 11 starts and a 0.73 goals-against-average to rank 45th in the NCAA and fourth in the AAC. She is a the three-time District 15-6A Goalkeeper of the Year (2020-21, 2021-22) and former football kicker from Klein Collins High School 
 Kessler has allowed just eight goals in 990 minutes of action, recording four shutouts – which ties for third in the UTSA freshman records and seventh in the single-season book.
The rookie keeper has logged 33 saves and an .805 save percentage, remaining on pace for fourth in the Roadrunners single-season record book.
Kessler ranks 95th in the NCAA and fifth in The American in save percentage.

Series history
Familiar foes, the Roadrunners and Owls will meet for the 15th time in program history, dating back to the first UTSA season in 2006. Rice holds a 12-2 advantage over the last 18 years and are 6-1 in Houston in this series. That lone road victory for UTSA was the last trip to Holloway Field in 2021, when UTSA triumphed 1-0 in overtime over the Owls. Last season at home, UTSA fell to Rice, 2-1.

Scouting the Owls
A perennially tough program, Rice has had a challenging first year in the American Athletic Conference with a 3-12-2 record, going 1-6-1 in AAC play. Rice’s Oct. 12 victory at Temple, 1-0, snapped a six-game losing skid for the Owls, who are 0-2-1 since but tied South Florida last Thursday 1-1.

Rice averages 11.4 shots per game with 1.12 goals per outing. However, defense has proved troublesome this year, as the Owls are giving 15.9 opposing shots for 2.65 goals per game.

Grad transfer Ellen Halseth is leading the offensive charge with five goals and five assists on the season. Junior Natalie Gorji has four assists of her own with a pair of goals, while sophomore Kallie McKinney has scored three goals with two assists and was a C-USA All-Freshman honoree in 2022. In goal, Mississippi State transfer Hannah Pimentel has taken on AAC play, but allowed 19 goals in eight starts for a 2.53 GAA. She has 29 saves and a .604 save percentage. After a challenging September, Pimentel and the Owls have held 3-of-5 October opponents to one goal or a shutout – UAB and Memphis both scored a pair.