Ladyjack defenders scramble to clear the ball as UTSA threatens. Photo Courtesy of Kevin Meyer/SFA Athletics

With Hurricane Harvey bearing down on the Texas coast, UTSA women’s soccer faced off against the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks on Aug. 23, a day earlier than scheduled, to avoid the impending storm conditions.

After a victory in the regular season opener, UTSA came up short with a score of 5-0 in their second game of the season at TCU. The ‘Runners entered the game with a regular season record of 1-1.

Stephen F. Austin is coming off a phenomenal 2016 campaign in which they took home the Southland conference title. However, they have had a rough 0-2 start after a tight 3-2 loss against Southern Mississippi.

Both the Roadrunners and SFA came into the game looking to bounce back from a loss.

Early on, both defenses looked aggressive, and neither team could possess the ball for long, let alone get off a shot. With neither team giving an inch of ground, the opportunities to do something with the ball were few and far between.

UTSA saw an opportunity in the 19th minute of the game when a shot saved by SFA’s goalie Allyson Smith, bounced right back into the possession of UTSA’s Harper Luczka. With Smith still on the ground, Harper fired a shot that was miraculously saved by a desperate Ladyjack defender. The unlikely save drew groans of disbelief throughout the stadium and a few stray cheers from the SFA fans that had made the trip to San Antonio.

The Roadrunners’ defense continued to look stellar; In the 37th minute, UTSA got another golden opportunity. Forward Olivia Nicholls dribbled between two defenders and suddenly had the goalie one-on-one. However, Smith won the battle and made a diving stop on Nicholl’s shot. The score remained deadlocked at zero. However, that wouldn’t be the case for much longer.

Just two minutes later, UTSA’s Channing Machen gained possession of the ball outside the right corner of the box and fired a beautiful hooking shot towards the top left corner of the goal. This time, Smith couldn’t do anything about it. The ball sailed over the outstretched hands of a diving Smith, and UTSA fans from around the stadium erupted in cheers as the ball hit the back of the net. The ‘Runners took a 1-0 lead and would hold onto that lead heading into halftime.

Once the second half got underway, Stephen F. Austin wasted no time getting even. Before two minutes had passed in the second half, Madison Hall gained possession of the ball on the right side of the penalty box. Hall lobbed a pass into a crowded area where SFA’s Hannah Barker was somehow able to get a shot off. The ball got through a couple of UTSA defenders and went up and over goalie Gabriella Mariello for the score. Just like that, it was a brand-new match with the score at 1-1.

In the 63rd minute of the game, UTSA’s Olivia Nicholls threaded the needle on a pass to freshman Ellis Patterson who quickly took the shot and came painfully close to a goal. The ball rattled off the post and bounced right back into the goalie’s arms. Shortly after, another opportunity arose as sophomore Katieann Lochte had the ball in close to the goal. Once again, it was inches away from a score as the ball sailed just over the crossbar.

With time winding down and the score still knotted at one, SFA’s Hannah Barker struck again. Barker got the ball and fed a nice pass to Katelyn Termini just in front of the goal. Termini put it in easily, and the Ladyjacks took a 2-1 lead with just ten minutes to go.

Patterson had an opportunity to tie the game in the 89th minute with a header, but her valiant effort was squandered by SFA’s goalie Madeline Talbot as she corralled the ball.

Despite countless opportunities, UTSA fell to Stephen F. Austin by a tight score of 2-1. The loss is no doubt frustrating for the ‘Runners, but they’ll look to bounce back on Friday Sept. 1 when they travel to Waco to take on Baylor.

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