HOUSTON – Rainy conditions couldn’t hamper the UTSA soccer (7-7-4, 2-4-3 AAC) offense on Thursday night’s season finale at Rice (3-13-2, 1-7-1 AAC), as the Roadrunners caught fire early in the second half to amp up the pressure and score twice to down the Owls. Meanwhile, putting up another stalwart performance, the UTSA defense recorded its eighth shutout of the season and capped off a pair of season defensive statistical records.
The first half output was nearly even at Holloway Field, with each team registering three shots and possession remaining level. However, as the clock ticked under five minutes, the Roadrunners started to take control. Complementing shots from Marlee Fray, Sabrina Hillyer and Olivia Alvarez, freshmen Tyler Coker and Brittany Holden added a pair of rapid attempts just beyond the 40th minute to send the Roadrunners into the locker room with an aggressive edge.
The Roadrunners carried the momentum swing into the second half and came out firing after the break. The Roadrunners finally broke the stalemate on a corner kick from Avery Chaneyin the 53rd minute, as Rice goalkeeper Hannah Pimentel deflected Jordan Walker’s header, but Sasjah Dade there to drop the rebound into the back of the net for the game-winning goal. Putting the icing on for the offense in the 59th minute, Alissa Stewartpushed ball ahead to Fray, who maneuvered past the defender and fired a strong shot off Pimentel’s left hand into the net for UTSA’s second score.
It was nearly three with a would-be assist for Fray, as Pimentel saved Hannah Warnken’s 65th-minute strike with the very tips of her fingers. UTSA outshot Rice 10-5 in the second half and 15-8 on the night, coming away with its second multi-goal American Athletic Conference win.
Making her 12th start of the season, freshman goalkeeper Jasmine Kessler registered four saves to record her fifth clean sheet, bringing her goals-against-average down to 0.67 for the new UTSA freshman record. In addition, the Roadrunners end the season with a 0.72 GAA for the program single-season team record. Kessler finishes the season with 37 saves, a 4-5-3 record and an .822 save percentage.
Extending her record in her final career game at UTSA, defender Deja Sandoval moves the program appearances record to 87 games.
Fray and Stewart, both seniors, paced the UTSA attack with three shots apiece. All three of Frays attempts went on target, while Stewart had a pair on-goal.
Quoting Coach Derek Pittman
"We have played some real quality soccer the last several weeks and I'm proud of our players for finishing strong with a great result on the road tonight. Our players stood tall with a disciplined performance and scored some great goals. Really happy to finish the game with our seniors on the field. All eight of them have left a positive legacy and moved our program forward each and every year. They will greatly be missed."
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