Late Goal Gives Rattlers Come From Behind win Over Jets

Newman attempt to clear (Photo: Newman University Athletics)

A late goal gave St. Mary’s women a big win over Newman as they managed a 2-1 win at Wilkins Field on Thursday night. After conceding in the first half the Rattlers fought back and managed the win, getting their fifth conference win of the season.

Newman started the match well, controlling the early possession with Caitlin Davis looking like the main outlet for the Jets. But Davis’ shooting was poor, often missing the target which kept things scoreless through the opening minutes.

After a decent passage from St. Mary’s the Jets got back control of the match and they opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Rosa Urista-Chico sent in a driven cross from the right hand side finding Megan Foster who shot it in to the bottom right hand corner.

St. Mary’s was forced to fight back and after 11 minutes the Rattlers were able to hit the equalizer. Again the goal came from a wing, this time coming from a sublime chip as Leah Whittaker made space and chipped it over the keeper, which was enough to make it 1-1 at the half.

The Jets started the second half well having the bulk of the early chances in the half, but they could not get past Erin Longford. The Rattlers keeper was doing well in goal and keeping the match level as the two sides could not break through.

When the match seemed headed to extra time, the Rattlers broke through to seal the win in the final minute of the match. After Kaitlyn Judge saw her effort saved, the rebound fell to Alexia Maldonado who easily scored the tap-in to get the 2-1 win.

Two Rattlers win Player of the Week Honors

Photo: St. Mary’s University Athletics

St. Mary’s have had two players named as Heartland Conference players of the week as the league office made the announcements on Monday. Heather Dawson won the women’s offensive player of the week, while John-Michael Villarreal won the men’s offensive player of the week.

Dawson managed two goals and an assist through two matches over the weekend to win her the honor for the women’s side. She opened the weekend with two goals against Oklahoma Christian which pushed the Rattlers on to the win.

She followed that goal up by managing an assist to help get a vital goal against Lubbock Christian later in the week. Dawson’s ball found Rachel Gurinsky who was able to bury the chance to give the Rattlers a draw against Lubbock Christian.

For Villarreal the award was his first ever weekly award for the forward as he celebrates his senior season. It came after a strong week as he managed a pair of goals and a pair of assists to give the conference no other choice.

In the first match of the week, against UTPB Villarreal managed one goal, which came in the 24th minute and became the eventual match winner. Taking on Lubbock Christian he had an even stronger performance as they managed a goal and two assists to complete his strong week.

The announcement on Monday marked the first time that two Rattlers players had won player of the week awards in the same week. Villarreal also marks the first week that a men’s player had won the offensive player of the week award this season.

OLLU Women get First Ever win Over St. Mary’s

Photo: OLLU Athletics

What is fast becoming a tradition in San Antonio soccer, the second annual ‘Halo Classic’ saw Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) win the match. OLLU hosted St. Mary’s on Tuesday afternoon and managed a 2-0 win over the Rattlers.

The result marks the first time that OLLU managed a victory over St. Mary’s, after five matches between the two San Antonio catholic universities.  With OLLU receiving votes in the NAIA top 25 poll, they made a strong statement beating the NCAA Division II side.

After just missing out on winning the Red River Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week award last week, Brooke Cousins came out determined. OLLU was having the earlier opportunities but the physicality of the Rattlers was proving stifling with Cousins fouled multiple times in the opening minutes.

There were early chances from St. Mary’s but Gabriela Lopez was doing well in the Saints goal to keep the visitors out. That allowed OLLU to take back over the match and they were able to open the scoring in the 17th minute when Jackie Lambarida recovered a rebound from Erica Robertson’s shot. That allowed Lambarida to square the ball for Robertson who made no mistake on the second chance.

It could well have been two for the saints in the 24th minute after some continued good work from Cousins. She found space and got a powerful shot away, beating the keeper but could only find the crossbar as OLLU started to really control the match, which continued out for the rest of the half but they couldn’t score again, keeping it 1-0 at the break.

St. Mary’s were starting the second half well, challenging for chances early on, but they were unable to take chances. In the 57th minute OLLU was able to double their lead after the shot hit the post Grayson Manfredo reacted fastest to redirect it in to the goal to make it 2-0.

That saw the second half fade, as OLLU really looked to just take the threat from the Rattlers out of the match. OLLU could have made it three in the 73rd minute through Lambarida but her shot could only find the post.

St. Mary’s tried to challenge late on, getting the bulk of the chances but they could not break down the Saints defense. The best late chance came from OLLU in the 84th minute as they hit the post again as Amaris Tavares hit the post with her shot.

St. Mary’s Easily Defeated by Midwestern State After Strong Second Half

Despite a strong and competitive first half, St. Mary’s just couldn’t hold on against the number 25 ranked team in the nation on Saturday afternoon. Midwestern State powered past the Rattlers 4-0 in the second half to claim the win in Wichita Falls.

The match started physically but it didn’t take long for Midwestern State to take charge of the match. From the ninth minute it was all MSU with Rattlers keeper Jack Moore kept busy throughout the match.

Despite that domination from MSU they just could not break down the Rattlers who were flying in to block the shots. Flavio Guzman was the target man for MSU as he had the most opportunities in the first half but he couldn’t break through.

The trend continued in the second half as Midwestern State continued the attack, but again the St. Mary’s defense put their bodies on the line. Three shots were blocked in the early going which kept the Rattlers goalkeeper safe.

In the 69th minute Midwestern State finally broke through for the goal as Christian Okeke sent in a cross which found Jacob Hernandez. That allowed Hernandez to get a pass to Gabriel Cavalcante who easily put it past the keeper.

Just three minutes later MSU was able to double their lead, through a cross, this time from the left side. Kyle Baccus sent the cross in to the middle finding Ross Fitzpatrick who was able to bury the chance.

Now cruising, eight minutes from time MSU made it three, well and truly wrapping up the match through a corner kick. Guzman was able to swing in the corner for Alex Mullet who was able to head the ball home.

In the 86th minute the 4-0 result was wrapped up as Alex Mullet sent a through-ball to the right wing for Kristian Martinez. That allowed Martinez to cross the ball in for Laurence Chamberlin who buried it to seal the final score.

St. Mary’s Ranked Seventh and Fourth in Conference poll

St. Mary’s could be set for continued postseason play if the Heartland preseason polls are to be believed. The men sit seventh in the poll, in a revamped conference, which sees 12 teams in the league, making that a decent mid-table finish. The women sit in fourth, and could make a serious push for the title from that position.

It will be an interesting year for the Rattlers with new opponents and a new head coach in Matt Barnes, the team could travel in either direction. Seventh would seem to be a solid prediction for a Rattlers side that is just starting to become a postseason regular team.

The structure in the Heartland conference has been completely revamped with the addition of four affiliate teams. That forced the conference to move to a divisional format, with three divisions of four teams, the winner of each division will go through to the postseason, along with the next best three teams on a combined table.

That new format will make life tough for the Rattlers as they will have to play the defending champions, St. Edward’s, in their division. That likely means they will not get that automatic berth and so will need to hope that the rest of their performances are good enough to gain an at large berth.

The women have stability in their coaching ranks as Corwyn Ritch enters his 16th season in charge of the Rattlers. That stability has seen St. Mary’s kick on lately and the 2015 season, where they won 10 matches, was their best since 2010.

The women’s league is smaller and is just a straight table set up, but fourth place should be enough to seal the Rattlers some postseason play. It will be tough though, with Dallas Baptist and St. Edward’s the teams most likely to take the title.

St. Mary’s men Dumped out of Heartland Tournament by St. Edward’s

St. Edward's on the ball
St. Edward’s on the ball
Photo used with permission from Heartland Conference

St Marys win sets up Grandstand Finish in Heartland Conference

St. Mary’s Women’s Soccer has created one heck of finish to the season at the Heartland Conference as they managed a 3-0 win over Newman at Sigma Beta Chi field on Thursday night. That win sees the Rattlers remain level with Lubbock Christian while Dallas Baptist and St. Edward’s are all within one win of the top, with two matches to play.

That may see Lubbock Christian as favorites to take the regular season title as they have the easiest schedule. St. Mary’s will have to play both Dallas Baptist and St. Edward’s next week and will need to win both matches to secure the title.

It was all St. Mary’s in the first half, as they had all of the ball and almost all of the chances but they just couldn’t put them away. The Rattlers were the dominant side throughout the match but in the first 15 minutes Newman were keeping them at bay.

It took a long time coming but the Rattlers finally hit the goal that they so deserved in the 29th minute. Brittany Lacek sent a ball to set up Kristal Williams, who drew out the goalkeeper, allowing her to play it around the keeper and in to the back of the net.

That allowed St. Mary’s to start to rotate players as they sat on their 1-0 lead, but still managed to find a goal in the 40th minute. A corner allowed the opportunity and it was a clever move from Natalie Rodriguez, as they tricked the Jets defense and dribbled it in before burying the chance.

That was enough to make it 2-0 at the break as St Mary’s late goal in the half, had them firmly in charge of the match. That allowed the Rattlers to easily keep the chances away from Newman, as they controlled the match defensively.

Newman were stifled by the stern defense from St. Mary’s, which limited their chances, but the Rattlers themselves struggled. Chances were few and far between in the second half as neither side really created many chances.

In the 85th minute the match was well and truly wrapped up as St. Mary’s had their third goal of the night. The ball was sent in by Alexandra Pearson for Heather Dawson who slammed it home to give St. Mary’s the 3-0 win and keep them top.

St. Mary’s Defeat OLLU in San Antonio Derby

OLLU look to keep possession against St. Mary's
OLLU look to keep possession against St. Mary’s
Photo used with permission from OLLU Athletics