The traditional San Antonio college soccer season opener took place on Friday night as UIW’s women welcomed UTSA. It was UIW who got their season off to a wonderful start as they managed a 2-0 victory over the only other Division I school in San Antonio.
Facing the absence of a number of seniors in 2015, UTSA have a young squad in 2015, and so will take time to gel. UIW have continued to build as they start really looking like a division I program, entering their third year in the division in 2015.
UIW looked to assert their physicality on the match in the early going as they looked to rattle the Roadrunners. But it did not take long for the Cardinals to start to look threatening as they had two chances in a row.
UTSA were using their bench on a regular basis as they looked to try new lineups, embracing the friendly nature of the match. The best passage for the Roadrunners in the first half came in the middle of the half with two quick shots, the best falling to Sabrina Gonzalez who forced a nice save out of Karly Brightwell.
But in the 27th minute a defensive lapse gave UIW the opening goal as Emani Stewart stole possession. That allowed her to run clean through at goal and then easily finish to give UIW a deserved lead.
That spurred on UTSA and they started to really go for the match as they controlled the final ten minutes of the half. Yet despite looking dangerous they just could not find the goal as their finishing let them down, and the best chances late in the half fell to Emily Halal who saw her efforts saved by Katherine Tesno keeping it 1-0 at the break.
The second half saw an attacking and entertaining start as both keepers were made to work but they both did well to keep the match tight. But yet again UIW were the first to settle and take charge of the match, with Nikki Poppa looking especially dangerous.
Poppa was terrorizing the UTSA defence but without much luck, that was until the 66th minute when she broke through. It was thanks to a stunning cross from Abigail Koenigs who lifted it over the keeper, allowing Poppa a simple finish to double the UIW lead.
The substitutions were thick and fast through the final half hour of the match which broke up the flow. UTSA had chances in those closing stages but they just could not break UIW down, who managed a perfect start to their season.