AUSTIN — The TWU soccer team scored three goals in the first half and added two in the second en route to a 5-0 win over Texas A&M International on Friday in the Pioneers’ season opener.
The game was played on a neutral site at St. Edward’s.
Five players scored for the Pioneers as they snapped a seven-game winless streak in season openers. TWU was led by sophomore Lauren Smith with a goal and an assist, while freshman Tori Crook had two assists. Junior Emily Davila, sophomore Kayla Gorney and freshmen Alisa Velasquez and Gabrielle Larson also scored.
“It was a team effort and all 17 players contributed to the win,” TWU coach Babak Abouzar said. “We got tested in the backfield and we need to work on it little bit, but overall it was a good performance by the entire team.”
In the 14th minute, Davila scored TWU’s first goal of the season. She found the back of the net off a corner kick by Crook. Gorney made it 2-0 at the 18:27 mark from 40 yards out on a pass from Smith.
TWU made it 3-0 just before the break on Larson’s first collegiate goal in the 43rd minute. Sara Deeb was credited with the assist.
Six minutes into the second half, Velasquez scored her first collegiate goal on Crook’s second assist. Smith rounded out the scoring in the final minute on a rebound of a corner kick.
The Pioneers outshot A&M International 20-3, including 7-2 in shots on goal. TWU was led by Kailey Tue with seven shots followed by Smith with four.
Junior Lindsey Sisco and sophomore Ariana Morrison split time in goal and each made one save in the shutout.
“We slowed the game in the second half,” Abouzar said. “Our girls were able to control the ball and attack at the right time. Our subs also played a big role in this game. We were able to rest some of our starters, which will help us on Sunday.”
TWU will return to action at 2 p.m. Sunday against St. Edward’s at Lewis-Chen Family Field.
UNT 3, Sam Houston St. 0
Just days after star goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine’s season-ending injury, North Texas rode a dominating all-around performance to earn the first career shutout for new starter Haley Riley.
Kerestine, last year’s Sun Belt tournament MVP, went down with a knee injury in last weekend’s action against Virginia Tech, but Riley was more than sufficient as a replacement. The sophomore wasn’t tested often but made four saves to improve her career record to 2-0.
Kelsey Hodges, Rachel Holden and Vanessa Ibewuike scored as UNT outshot the Bearkats 28-7.
North Texas (3-2) will visit TCU at noon Sunday for a rivalry game to be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.
UNT splits at tourney
Facing its second Pac-12 opponent of the season, North Texas could not find the magic touch late in the first two sets, falling to Utah 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 25-16 at the Mean Green’s North Texas Invitational.
The first set proved the most fruitful for UNT, as Amy Henard and Coutney Windham assisted on a block to spark a small run when the Mean Green was down 22-16. A Hanna Forst kill highlighted UNT’s efforts midway through the second set.
In the third set, UNT stormed from four down to take a 15-12 lead. Following Analisse Shannon’s monster kill, the Mean Green never looked back and finished off the set victory.
UNT flew out of the gate early in the fourth set, taking an 8-4 lead. But the Mean Green was not able to hold off the furious Utah attack.
In its opening match, UNT made quick work of Prairie View A&M, 25-21, 25-22, 25-15.
Sophomore Katie Dudding helped UNT win the first set with four kills, and she finished with six kills in the match. In the second set, Eboni Godfrey’s two late set kills were key in the victory.
The Mean Green used seven consecutve points early in the third set to take control.
Today, North Texas will play Northwestern State at 11 a.m. and Texas State at 7:30 p.m.
Freshman Kuechle shines as Pioneers win twice
AUSTIN — TWU opened its season by winning twice at the Hilltopper/Rattler Classic. The Pioneers defeated Adams State 21-25, 25-14, 25-21, 12-25, 15-9, then knocked off host St. Edward’s 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-17.
“We started off the season well with two big regional wins,” TWU coach Shelly Barberee said. “Our first game against Adams State was outstanding. We played together as a team and had some big plays. St. Edward’s style of play is different with a lot of tip balls, and we struggled early.”
Against Adams State, Mallory Kuechle made her collegiate debut with a bang, leading the match with 18 kills. She added 11 digs for a double-double and posted a .342 hitting percentage. TWU seniors Josie Santos and Courtnee Davis also reached double digits in kills with 15 and 10, respectively. Kayla Rivero added a double-double in with 28 assists and 12 digs.
Against St. Edward’s, Kuechle posted her second double-double of the day. She had another match high with 12 kills and added 11 digs on defense. Chloe’ Tate had 11 kills and Marcela Alves nine. Rivero recorded her second double-double with 20 assists and 14 digs.
“Mallory had a good start to her college career,” Barberee said. “She had a big game against Adams State with 18 kills and a high hitting percentage.”
TWU completes the two-day tournament today in San Antonio with matches against No. 8 Central Missouri at 1 p.m. and host St. Mary’s at 7 p.m.