UTSA have continued their rise in form and got themselves a big win on Sunday as they defeated Rice 2-0 at Park West Athletics Complex.
It was an impressive performance at both ends of the park for UTSA with Bubba Makela making give saves and earning a third clean sheet while Brianna Livecchi was dangerous in midfield, playing part in both of the goals.
Makela’s performance is made all the more impressive when looking at Rice’s attacking stats with the UTSA defense doing well to keep the dangerous Gabriela Iribarne at bay despite her getting seven shots away.
Rice looked dangerous against UTEP on Friday but it was clear what UTSA’s plan was, rattle the Owls by going on the attack, it was when they looked most vulnerable against UTEP and the Roadrunners were clean to exploit that slow starting nature.
The Owls looked better defensively in the opening minutes as they held back a strong UTSA attack but the Roadrunners were relentless, not allowing Rice to get a toe-hold in the match the way UTEP did on Friday.
With that in mind it was no surprise when UTSA hit the lead in the 22nd minute as Taylor Wingerden’s pass was redirected by Livecchi for Kauwela Neal who was able to control and shoot past the keeper for the opener.
That frustrated the Owls, who tried to go on the attack but UTSA stood up in the midfield to try and choke Rice from getting the ball forward as the Roadrunners held a 1-0 lead in to the half.
It was a tight match in the second half with UTSA determined to make defense the priority and go forward when they had the chances as they frustrated Rice.
In the 84th minute the match ran towards an exciting conclusion as Rice went for the match trying to find an equalizer and force the match in to extra time.
Unsurprisingly it was Iribarne who had the chances as she quickly had three straight that the UTSA defense held up strongly for to deny the Owls.
Iribarne managed to get three shots away with two of those shots getting blocked by the UTSA defense, with Rice pushing high which allowed UTSA the space to counter and attack.
UTSA took that opportunity and sealed the match with a second goal with two minutes to play as Livecchi was given the space to cross in to the box, allowing Laylla Da Cruz to head home the winning goal as sealed their first ever Conference USA win.
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