Ladyjacks Blank Rice 1-0 In Opener
Aug 23, 2013Photo Gallery
HOUSTON, Texas - Freshman Hailey Hunt made her first career goal one to remember by scoring the game-winner in the 72nd minute to give the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks an impressive 1-0 road victory against the Rice Owls Friday evening at the Rice Soccer Stadium.
The victory marked the first of the Wally Crittenden era, who began his first season at the helm of the Ladyjacks back in January. It was also the second consecutive season that SFA (1-0) went toe-to-toe with the Owls and came away with a 1-0 win.
"What a great test for our squad tonight," Crittenden said. "You try to replicate live game speed and intensity when you train, but until you are in a live match with a lot at stake, it's hard to appreciate the speed at which you have to play. Rice is a great team and is very well coached. Our team was prepared to grind and compete the entire match tonight. The great thing is that we will only get better and more settled as we play more games. This is a high character group that is getting better every day and will remain hungry. We will refocus and recover as we prepare for a tough Texas State squad coming to Nacogdoches on Sunday."
"We play defense from the front to the back and Rice does a very good job stretching the midfield and the back line," Crittenden said. "Our defenders adjusted and weathered these moments very well. Both Lacey and Mo were excellent in goal and were very clean. Again, the more minutes our back half unit has together, the tougher they will be to be beat. We learned a lot about the competitive character of our squad."
The game-winner from Hunt came in the 72nd minute when she pushed a shot past Rice goalkeeper Amy Czyz from close range on the right-hand side. Hunt's goal was assisted by sophomore Dallas Brown.
"What a great sequence our goal was," Crittenden said. "Some great interplay on the flank that lead to an entry pass by Zuri into the penalty area to Dallas, who placed a great cross across the box that Hailey was composed to finish first time. A fantastic goal."
SFA will next return home on Sunday for their home opener to face former Southland Conference foe Texas State, who defeated Northwestern St. 3-1 in Natchitoches Friday evening. Sunday's match is set for a 1 p.m. start time.