HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State was lethal on the attack and kept Jackson State on the defensive, defeating the Lady Tigers, 8-0 in the home opener on Friday night from Pritchett Field.
The Bearkats (2-1-0) scored their sixth-most goals for a game in program history and the most since netting nine against Texas Southern in 2011.
Four Kats contributed two goals apiece including Beryl Smith, Carlota Suarez-Crespo, Meredith Carlson and Micaela Birt. Lexi Bullard helped lead the charge, tallying three assists while Courtney Pawlik was dangerous in her own right, helping a pair of goals via the corner kick.
Sam Houston outshot JSU (0-3-0), 33-2 and held the opponent without a shot in the first half. The Kats registered 11 corner kicks, including eight in the opening frame, while netting six second-half goals highlighted by a pair less than five minutes in.
Christina Hendershot registered her first clean sheet while improving to 2-1-0 in the net.
With Sunday’s game canceled due to Hurricane Harvey, Sam Houston next returns to action on Thursday at SMU. The team will then travel to Little Rock for a match on Saturday before opening a four-game homestand on Sept. 8 against Louisiana.
Sam Houston dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes, creating 15 shots while converting on a pair of shots on goal. Jackson State, which entered the match seeking its first goal this season, did not register a shot and spent most of its time on the defensive.
Seven minutes in, Carlota Suarez-Crespo used the first of eight corners kicks in the frame to find the back of the net. The junior transfer connected on the cross from Courtney Pawlik, leaping into the air and heading the ball into the top right corner.
Beryl Smith continued her hot start to the season. The senior scored her third goal in as many matches, doing so in the 30th minute. She gained possession of the ball and rifled a shot from outside the box. The liner deflected off a leaping effort from JSU goalkeeper and slipped through her hands.
Sammi Mayock also contributed key minutes off the bench tallying three shots including one on goal. In total seven different Bearkats registered a shot including four with multiple shots.
The Bearkats opened things up offensively, applying pressure to JSU, leading to 18 shots in the second half – converting six of those into goals.
Micaela Birt netted her first goal of the year, using a popped up pass over a defender to Lexi Bullard who crossed to the junior to punch it in during the 46th minute. Two minutes later, Meredith Carlson made it a four-goal lead, taking a cross in the box from Lexi Bullard before putting it home.
Carlson added another goal in the 56th minute, deflecting a shot off the keeper and into the net. Birt added her second goal of the half in the 59th minute, showcasing her speed to put one into the bottom right corner of the net.
Carlota Suarez-Crespo added another in the 64th minute on a cross from Jessica Hernandez and Smith provided the final nail, using a Hannah Dupin cross to bend the ball in for her team-leading fourth goal of the season.
Coach Tom Brown on the victory to begin the home season… "
"I thought tonight we came out had a good performance. We stuck to the game plan in pressing them and creating opportunities in the back. We talked about creating high pressure in the first half to tire them out in the second half and the scored reflected the plan well. We were much more efficient up front. That early goal really helped us get motivated. We spent two training sessions working on the passes from the midfield and once we spread out in the second half we saw those opportunities come about. It is nice to get back and we didn't know what to expect in fan support because of the hurricane but overall they didn't seem jittery. Everybody was ready to get out and get a win."
Lexi Bullard on the team’s performance and the second-half surge…
"It honestly felt great to get a big win. The early goal in the second half really got our confidence up and assured that everything was going to be okay and showed what we did for practice on attacking was displayed."
Meredith Carlson on the fan support and home win…
“I thought it was a great turnout with the Bearkat Bandits really cheering us on. It was good to get so many goals in front of them and hopefully it helps us bring more fans to our games. After we got our first few goals we felt like we got this team on lock. Coach Brown mostly talked about spreading the field at half because our midfield was getting really clumped together.”