DALLAS – Twenty-second ranked SMU opened up a three-goal first half lead and used a steady offensive attack and held on to knock off the Bearkats, 4-1, on Thursday night at Westcott Field.
Sam Houston (2-2-0) held the Mustangs (3-0-2) to just one goal in the opening 30 minutes but SMU struck for a pair, coming seven minutes apart, heading into the break. Vanessa Valdez netted a pair for the Mustangs while Haley Thompson added as many assists.
After a slow opening 45 minutes offensively, Sam Houston trimmed the deficit to a pair in the 70th minute. Taylor Pritchard collected the rebound and rifled a shot into the back corner for the sophomore’s first career goal.
It took SMU seven minutes to lengthen the lead back to three as Valdez struck for the second time in the 77th minute. The Mustangs out-shot the Bearkats, 26-4. All four of Sam Houston’s shot came on goal, courtesy of Carly English, Beryl Smith, Sammi Mayock and Pritchard.
Making her fourth start, Sam Houston goalkeeper Christina Hendershot recorded seven saves while working all 90 minutes. SMU’s Catie Brown picked up the win, making two saves while allowing the Pritchard goal in 77 minutes of action before Haley Jackson played the remainder.
Sam Houston returns to play on Saturday, visiting Little Rock for a 7 p.m. matchup. The game will be the final in the non-conference road slate. The Kats return home one week from Friday to open a four-match homestand beginning against Louisiana.
Opening thoughts from head coach Tom Brown…
“I thought you could tell SMU was a top-25 team. They were able to get on us fairly quickly. As the game went on, our players adjusted to the pace better. In the second half, we got in and tried to make some adjustments and the players responded. We had a better performance.”
Head coach Tom Brown on what Taylor Pritchard brings offensively…
“She’s got a lot of versatility. We played a lot of her time in the midfield. I think her natural position is more up front. She’s good on the ball and is technically sound. She is a very tenacious player. We know we will get an honest day’s work every time out from her.”
Head coach Tom Brown on the message to the team following the match…
“We’ll be able to show them some things on the tape that we want to clean up. The biggest thing was letting them know we lost the first half 3-0 but it was better performance in the second half. We want to build on that. Little Rock has been more of a counter attack kind of team so it will be a different style of play. We’ll have to make sure they understand what they’ll see and how we want to adjust.”