EDINBURG – UTRGV capitalized on a pair of first-half goals from Diandra Aligia and allowed just two Sam Houston shots in the final 45 minutes, defeating the Bearkats 2-1 from Edinburg.
Beryl Smith brought Sam Houston (1-1) within one, lofting a ball into the top left corner of the net midway through the second half but the Bearkats could muster nothing more against the Vaqueros (2-0) despite seven corner kicks on the match.
After finishing 1-1 on opening weekend, Sam Houston returns to Pritchett Field on Friday for the home opener against Jackson State. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The squad remains at the friendly confines on Sunday, facing Oral Roberts at 10 a.m.
UTRGV made the most of its early possessions while keeping Sam Houston on the defensive. In the third minute, Diandra Aliaga slipped through the Bearkat defense and converted on a touch pass for a 1-0, Vaqueros lead.
The Bearkats looked to capitalize in the ninth minute as Carlota Suarez Crespo raced down the right side, breaking through a pair of defenders before her lengthy shot sailed high.
Five minutes later, Aliaga struck again, finding an open left side of the net following a pair of passes from Malia Irvine and Sarah Bonney.
Sam Houston created an opportunity in the 32nd minute as Courtney Pawlik looped a well-placed corner inside the box. Mackenzie Smith came away with the ball, sending a shot into the right side as it bounced around before eventually being cleared.
The corner was the last of four from the Bearkats in the opening 45 minutes but showed Sam Houston’s ability to create chances after making four substitutions in the 22nd minute.
Beryl Smith started the scoring for Sam Houston in the 65th minute, settling the throw in from Carly English in the right side of the box. The senior then lifted the ball over the keeper into the top left corner of the net, trimming the deficit in half. The goal was her second in as many games.
The Bearkats avoided damage in the 58th minute after Riley Kaderli received a yellow card. The free kick from Hannah Spets sailed just high. In the 71st minute, the Vaqueros came inches from adding to their lead as Gina Stiener’s shot hit the top left crossbar.
Sam Houston appeared to have tied the game in the 73rd minute, finding the back of the net but the Bearkats were called offside. Carlota Suarez Crespo’s header sailed wide right in the 80th minute off the Pawlik corner, proving to be the final opportunity for the Kats.
UTRGV Tournament -- All-Tournament Team
Sam Houston State
Cal State Bakersfield
Head coach Tom Brown on the weekend finale…
"I was a little disappointed in our start. I think we made a couple mistakes and that obviously got us down. Once we got into the second half, we started to create more opportunities. We were very dangerous on set pieces. We competed well but bottom line is it’s early and gives us some things we can see on video and continue to work as we get ready for conference.”
Head coach Tom Brown on the seven corner kicks…
“I think we had some good services and created some very good chances by our players who are taking care of that. We’re still working on that and helping them find the target zones consistently. We had a couple really good opportunities. That’s kind of how it goes some days. I thought we were better playing in the second half than the first.”
Head coach Tom Brown on Beryl Smith’s goal and her impact on the team…
“I think she’s very valuable. She is looked up to by the whole team and staff included. She is very passionate about wanting to play well. She wants to succeed and excel. She is very dedicated to being the best at her position. She was able to create a goal out of nothing today. We’re continuing to work with her to get into more dangerous positions more often.”