HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State netted a pair of first-half goals and staved off Louisiana late, downing the Ragin’ Cajuns, 2-1, in its final non-conference match of the season on Friday night at Pritchett Field.
Carlota Suarez-Crespo continued her hot start to the season, rifling in her fourth goal of the year in the fifth minute, matching Beryl Smith for the team lead. Sammi Mayock was impressive off the bench, providing what turned into the match-winning goal in the 40th minute. It was also her first career goal.
As was the case in the previous three matchups historically with the Cajuns (1-4-0), this one was also decided by one goal as Louisiana’s Amy Busaiacchi trimmed the lead in half in the 84th minute.
Making her first start of the season in goal, Anna Kaiser impressed, recording seven saves including the difference maker as time wound down. The Bearkats (3-3-0) out-shot the Cajuns, 19-15, including 10-8 on goal. Suarez-Crespo led Sam Houston with three shots while Ellie Chapple, Taylor Pritchard and Mayock added a pair.
Sam Houston continues its four-match homestand on Friday, hosting Central Arkansas in the Southland Conference opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. from Pritchett Field. Admission is free.
Sam Houston’s offense came out fast in the opening 45 minutes, creating 13 shots while converting on a pair of six shots on goal. The defense was also stifling, limiting Louisiana to four shots including two on goal.
Five minutes in, Carlota Suarez-Crespo pounded her fourth career goal on Katy Johnson’s first assist of the season. The junior transfer connected off Johnson’s pass into the middle of the box rifling one into the back of the net.
Louisiana’s offense came out in the second half out-shooting Sam Houston 11-6 with only a pair on goal. But the defense was successful surrounding and containing the Ragin Cajun attack.
In the 60th minute, Katy Johnson nearly put Sam Houston ahead by three on a beautiful cross for an opportunity that just missed a heading Dupin on the right side of the box.
Louisiana got on the board in the 84th minute after a high shot from Ashleigh Cade drilled the top of the post, deflecting down to Amy Busaiacchi who fired it in for her first goal of the season.
Anna Kaiser provided the winning save with time winding down for the Kats. Louisiana’s Haley Boroch lifted a shot and Kaiser puts her body on the line to make the diving grab.
Head coach Tom Brown on the victory...
"I thought early on that we did a really good job controlling the game. Obviously there were mistakes but we really wanted to get the ball wide and knock it into the spaces. I thought at times we got nervous we forced it central. But overall I thought we did really well especially presevering in the last minute. We are glad to get the win in the last out-of-conference game. This makes the week leading up to Central Arkansas a lot easier."
Head coach Tom Brown on the performance from Anna Kaiser...
"Early on she did really well in the getting the ball and kicking it wide. I thought she has gotten better at her kicking game compared to last year. She made a couple of good saves in the back half, so I thought she had a good outing."
Head coach Tom Brown on the impact of Crespo and Mayock...
"Carlota is a very gifted player and a very experienced player. You could see where the keeper was out of position and she calmly put in the back of the net. She is such a calm collected force. Sammi has really done well understanding her job in and around the box."
Courtney Pawlik on the victory...
"I think this game we focused on playing as a team because last week we struggled completing passes. I think we really accomplished that tonight. I think we feel really ready for conference to start. We are excited to play. It is always great to start off the first goal it helps keep the momentum. We focused on getting the midfielders compacted and together making sure there were no holes. I felt like we did that well."
Sammi Mayock on the win...
"Throughout practice Coach has told us to make interchanging runs and split up defenders. Lexi said switch with me and so she went front post I went back post and Hannah had an amazing cross that was perfectly right at my head and I headed it. I definitely think we have way more confidence. On the way back from Little Rock we were down for a bit and so we trained hard and now we feel way more prepared. That is why I came here is because all the girls have great relationships with each other on and off the field. It helps with chemistry when you know how your teammate play."