(sports web soccer team claims first conference usa win)

Photo Credit: Vicente Cardenas/ The Paisano

The UTSA women’s soccer team captured their first point of the season since August 30 while battling Florida Atlantic University to a scoreless draw in the Roadrunners’ Conference USA (C-USA) debut on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Park West Athletics Complex.

UTSA had lost six straight games previously, with their only victory of the season coming in a 1-0 win over Sam Houston State.

“Just to get a point gives us confidence. The girls fought hard and we’ve gone through a tremendous amount of adversity,” Head Coach Steve Ballard said after the game. “I didn’t think we played an extremely good soccer game, technical wise, but we sure gave a lot of effort.”

The Roadrunners showed improvement and can still make an impact with nine conference games left in the season.

“We have been struggling this season. We have a new team and we are facing a lot of odds, but we are moving forward,” midfielder Kaytee O’Brien said. “Coach Ballard says not to focus on the wins and losses, but to continue to focus on moving forward, and I definitely think we are moving forward as a team.”

O’Brien dictated the pace of play early on for the Roadrunners, continually connecting pass after pass trying to set up scoring opportunities in the first half. Junior midfielder Happy Orere-Amadu had a solid chance to score a goal in the 28th minute when she bypassed her defender and crossed a teasing ball into FAU’s box, but the pass couldn’t find any teammates to connect with.

Neither team could convert the nine shots that were taken between them into a goal in the second half, resulting in overtime play.

Goalie Bubba Makela stopped four shots on goal, with one key save in the second overtime to help the Roadrunners secure the draw.

On Sunday, Sept. 29 the Roadrunners (2-8-1, 1-0-1 C-USA) defeated the Rice Owls (3-4-2, 1-1 C-USA) who were ranked second in the conference, with a 2-0 win at the Park West Athletics Complex.

The match was the first conference win for UTSA this season.

“We set a game plan again and they stuck to it,” UTSA head coach Steve Ballard said. “We’ve gone through a lot of adversity over the last seven weeks and it’s a great victory.”

UTSA came out with energy and aggression, seeming to catch Rice off-guard. In the 21st minute of the game, UTSA sophomore Kauwela Neal scored her first goal of the season with assists by junior Taylor Wingerden and freshman Brianna Livecchi that put the Roadrunners up 1-0.

UTSA goalkeeper Bubba Makela fought off major pressure from Rice’s offense in the second half as she finished the game with five saves. It was Makela’s second shutout win of the season.

The Roadrunners capped their day by adding a second goal in the 87th minute when senior Laylla da Cruz beat Owls goalie Amy Czyz for a score. The Brazilian native da Cruz led the team with 5 shots.

“We did really well,” da Cruz stated. “They (Rice) were picked number two in the whole conference, and we beat them. That gives us more confidence going into the next few games, which are two big games, next week.”

UTSA was pleased with their performances over the weekend and what it means moving forward.

“It’s been a difficult, adverse season,” Ballard added. “There aren’t many teams that would stay together being 1-8, but these girls did and have just worked so hard. I think that just tells you that the schedule we have played has been one of the toughest in the country. Hopefully we’ll continue doing what we’re doing right now.”

The Roadrunners face a difficult stretch of games, playing the next three matches on the road beginning Friday, Oct. 4 in North Carolina to face the University of Charlotte 49ers.

Related Stories

More from Jakob Lopez & Jade Cuevas/Contributing Writers

Editorial Board

At the University of Missouri, real change happened — but only when loss of university revenue was threatened. Missouri student…

More In Sports

Cade Draughon Contributing Writer

The Chiefs began the week with a 4-1 record and one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Coming…