Soccer opens season with 1-0 exhibition win over UTSA

Sports Editor

Following practice last week, Coach Kat Conner was not pleased. She felt her players were playing as individuals instead of playing into the team’s style.

The Texas State soccer team’s 1-0 exhibition win over UTSA Sunday night reaffirmed the opposite – the team is ready for the regular season.

“Maybe that just shows a coach needs to step away a little bit more and let them own it,” Conner said. “It’s good stuff to build on. They have our style down.”

Lynsey Curry, senior forward, began the season much like she ended last season – creating goals for her team.

This time Curry was the beneficiary of a pass from Kira Zapalac, sophomore midfielder, in the 15th minute. Curry received Zapalac's pass and converted the team’s only goal. The Bobcats held on to their 1-0 lead for the remaining 75 minutes to close the exhibition victory.

Curry's goal played into Conner’s focus this season. She wants her team to put the pressure on her opponent by scoring the first goal of the game.

After all, Texas State went 10-1-1 last season when they scored the first goal.

“I thought the first half we came out mentally focused and ready to apply our strategy,” Conner said. “I think we did a great job doing that. We still need to finish a little better than we did but we had some great looks on goal so I’m proud of them for that.”

UTSA threatened to tie the game when Texas State’s starters were shuffled out of the lineup in the second half. The Roadrunners attempted six shots and generated four corner kicks in the game.

Channing Machen, Roadrunners freshman forward, forced Caitlynn Rinehart, senior goalkeeper, to make a diving save to her right to prevent a goal in the 36th minute.

Rinehart saved two shots in 75 minutes before exiting the game for Maddi Nordstrom, sophomore goalkeeper. 

“They got a little frazzled a bit there,” Conner said. “It went off and on there. We’ve got to do better at regaining our composure in the second half but, overall, we did well against a great team like UTSA.”

More than the final result, Conner was looking to see her entire team participate in a game before the games begin to count in the final standings.

The low stakes of an exhibition game allowed Conner to play everyone on the roster and accumulate positive and negative film for her to review prior to the team’s regular season opener.

Texas State, picked third in the Sun Belt Conference preseason poll, begins its regular season Aug. 21 in a road matchup with Houston

“It was good experience for all of us and hopefully a good tune up for us to get ready for Houston,” Conner said.