HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State jumped ahead with a pair of first-half goals and controlled a majority of possession throughout, defeating Southeastern Louisiana, 2-0 in the program’s Pink Out on Sunday afternoon at Pritchett Field.
The Kats (6-7-1, 3-4-1 Southland) found the back of the net courtesy of Sammi Mayock, who was making her first career start, and Beryl Smith, who matched Carlota Suarez Crespo for the team lead in goals with six. For Mayock, it marked the second goal in her last four matches played.
Christina Hendershot continued her shutdown ability in the net, extending her scoreless minute’s streak to 235 minutes with her second-consecutive clean sheet. The keeper recorded three saves against the Lions (3-9-3, 1-5-2) and has now allowed one or fewer goals in her last four starts.
Sam Houston hits the road for a pair of matches next weekend, visiting Abilene Christian on Friday (7 p.m.) and Incarnate Word on Sunday (11 a.m.). The squad has three regular season matches remaining and hosts Stephen F. Austin in the home finale one week from Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Sam Houston maintained control offensively and was able to capitalize thanks to some quality possessions. In the 25th minute, off a free kick, Bailey Strong found a crashing Sammi Mayock, who connected on leaping header into the back of the net.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Bearkats struck again. Sam Houston controlled possession down the left side as Carlota Suarez Crespo turned in and found an open Beryl Smith. The senior did the rest, lobbing a volley over the head of Lions’ keeper Michaela Hawthorn in the 34th minute.
It marked Sam Houston’s highest first-half output since scoring as many in a 2-1 win against Louisiana on Sept. 8. The Kats struck five shots, all coming on goal, including a team-best two shots from Mayock.
In the net, Sam Houston goalkeeper Christina Hendershot recorded a pair of saves including a diving stop to extend her scoreless minute’s streak. The junior was under little distress as the Bearkats were effective in their ball movement, reversing course from Friday’s double-overtime, scoreless draw.
Hendershot helped keep Southeastern at bay in the second half, punching a ball away in the 57th minute off an opportunity into the box. The Lions had some chances, courtesy of blocked shot that led to a corner in the 55th minute but the Kats turned the ball away.
The College Station native came away big again in the 65th minute, diving to her right to muscle a ball off the post and wide. On the ensuing corner kick, the ball slipped through to keep the scoreless effort intact.
Sam Houston created a pair of nice chances less than two minutes apart as Briana Woodall’s shot sailed high. In the 69th minute, Lindsey Bienski drove a shot from just outside the top of the 18-yard box that needed a diving stop from Hawthorn to disallow a third goal.
Suarez Crespo appeared to add some insurance, firing in a shot on an open net courtesy of a pass from Mayock, who stole the ball and beat a defender, but was called offside in the 81st minute.
Head coach Tom Brown on the 2-0 victory…
“It was a very important win to continue our hopes for the conference tournament. I thought we played well. We got a shot on goal 30 seconds in and I thought that set the tone. They did a good job pressing us in the second half. I thought as the game wore on, we had some opportunities. Overall, I think it was a good performance and something to build on.”
Head coach Tom Brown on the two goals…
“It was a great ball played in by Bailey and she did a great job flicking it as the keeper came out. It was an important one for us today. It was played in with a lot of pace and she did a nice job getting it up and over. That’s one of the things she can do that a lot of players don’t have the ability.”
Head coach Tom Brown on Hendershot’s performance…
“I think she’s been good. As she’s gone on with training, she has got better and better. She put in a good performance this week. We’ve wanted someone who could really solidify that goalkeeping spot. I think this week went a lot way with that. Hopefully she’ll gain that confidence and keep those clean sheets coming.”
Christina Hendershot on the clean sheet for the weekend…
“It feels incredible but I have to give credit to my defense. They saved a couple for me including a few that may have gone in. Knowing we didn’t lose at home this weekend gave everyone some confidence. It gives everyone something to think on knowing we can win.”
Sammi Mayock on getting the start and scoring the opening goal…
“I hurt my ankle at the beginning of the season before conference started so it was hard coming back. I worked hard to do that. When I finally saw my name on the board, I was happy to start. During practice, I’ve been working on free kicks and corner kicks. When Bailey took the free kick, it landed perfectly on my head and I headed it in. That’s my forte. That’s just how we practice.”