HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State continue the surge it created in the second half of the Southland Conference opener a week ago, defeating A&M-Corpus Christi, 2-0 to open the university’s Parents Weekend on Friday night at Pritchett Field.
Carlota Suarez Crespo put Sam Houston ahead in the 32nd minute with her team-leading fifth goal of the season. The forward used a nice pass in from Lindsey Bienski to beat Islanders’ goalkeeper Abbie Flax.
While Sam Houston was a force on the defensive end, it also carried over offensively. Defender Jessica Hernandez recorded her first collegiate goal, putting home a corner from Meredith Carlson to add insurance in the 66th minute.
The win was the fifth-straight for Sam Houston (4-4-0, 1-1-0 Southland) against the Islanders all-time. Meanwhile, Anna Kaiser’s clean sheet marked the third consecutive game against A&M-Corpus Christi (4-3-1, 1-1-0) at Pritchett in which the Kats held the Islanders scoreless.
The Bearkats return to action on Sunday to close out their season-high four-match homestand against HBU. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. From there, the team embarks on three consecutive on the road as league play continues.
Sam Houston and A&M-Corpus Christi exchanged opportunities midway through the first half after neither team registered a shot over the first 10 minutes of the match. The Bearkats were aggressive down the right side to Katy Johnson, keeping the pressure on the Islanders.
The Bearkats kept with their theme of creating corner kick chances, nearly connecting on a well-placed ball from Meredith Carlson into Suarez Crespo in the box. Her shot was blocked but she would not have to wait long to make up for it.
The sophomore found the back of the net in the 33rd minute, taking advantage as Lindsey Bienski placed a ball into the Madrid, Spain, native who capitalized, firing a shot into the back right corner of the net for the 1-0, Sam Houston lead.
Sam Houston fed off the momentum, maintaining possession for a remainder of the half, allowing just one shot, coming in the waning seconds only to be saved by Kaiser.
The Islanders outshot the Kats, 6-5, including 4-3 on goal but Sam Houston registered three corners. Ellie Chapple, Carlson and Suarez Crespo accounted for the Bearkats’ three shots on goal while in the net, Kaiser made all four saves necessary.
Sam Houston continued to control the field early in the second, creating a corner moments into the half. In the 54th minute, the Kats pressure and ball movement led to a Johnson shot that resulted in another save.
Sam Houston appeared poised to double its advantage in the 56th minute as Mackenzie Smith found Carlson on the right side of the net but her shot on the open side was lifted high.
The Bearkats found the net again in the 67th minute as Carlson’s corner found Hernandez on the back right. She capitalized among the tight-knit defense, kneeing the ball into the goal for her first of the season.
Sam Houston staved off some strong Islander chances including a racing play from Kaitlyn Joy only to see Kaiser step out and made a sliding stop. A&M-Corpus Christi followed with two corners only to see Sam Houston’s tenacious defense clear.
Head coach Tom Brown on the victory…
“I thought overall we had a good performance with intensity throughout the game. We created a few chances tonight and had the clean sheet which was key. I think the biggest thing is for us to get better every game because it was not perfect. Hopefully when Sunday comes around we will fix a lot of other things and peaking at the right time.”
Head coach Tom Brown on the adjustments made entering the match…
“We for the most part did a really good job disrupting them and we pressed pretty well. The second half we had a little fatigue but for the most part we did pretty well. They were able to get on us a little more. Overall it was good for Carlota to get another goal tonight on a great pass by Lindsey Bienski."
Head coach Tom Brown on corner opportunities from Meredith Carlson…
“She shows very good technique and she gives us great chances. We have a lot of great forwards who have a head to go and get the goal.”
Jessica Hernandez on the goal and victory…
“We have a bunch of corner plays we run through and I stayed after practice to get better and get that goal right in the back of the net. We have been practicing really hard this week and we wanted to come back this week strong because in the second half we felt like we should have won that game (last week).”
Ellie Chapple on the defensive effort…
“As the season goes on we let a goal or two go in and that is something we really want to get better at stopping. This week we worked really hard on one on one defending and working as a unit to make sure we cover each other. We are making sure we are taking care of the little things.”