SHREVEPORT, Texas - The University of St. Thomas (UST) Women's Soccer team captured its third win of the season on Saturday, Sept. 20 with a 5-0 victory over Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) rivals, Louisiana State University - Shreveport (LSUS), a brand new program this season. It was a strong team effort from the Celts, as five different players scored.
The Celts came out on the front foot, and opening the scoring in the 6th minute, as Katarina Maksimov (SO/Richmond, TX) finished a rebound coming off post after a Lena Whitt (SR/Sugar Land, TX) shot, her third of the season.
Barely three minutes later, Captain Yarimar Vazquez (SR/San Juan, Puerto Rico) opened her account, slotting home her first goal of the season after being set up by Maksimov.
The Celts continued to apply pressure, but didn't find another breakthrough until the 35th minute, when Alexa Noyola (JR/Houston, TX) latched onto a pass from Alyssa Trackwell (JR/Sugar Land, TX) and found the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
The Celts defense shut down any threats from the Pilots going forward, and the Celts went into the half with a 3-0 lead.
The Celts outshot the Pilots 35-3 and did not allow a single shot on goal. Goalkeepers Emma Pinkerton (JR/Kingwood, TX) and Kristy Correa recorded a joint shutout, and the team recorded its third shutout of the season.
"Emma, Chelsea, Syd, Lena and Kat [Celts GK and defenders] are all crucial players for the team," said Captain Yarimar Vazquez. "The defenders talk with the team on who needs to track back and who needs to mark who. They are the ones who steer our ship."
The win over the Pilots came two days after the Celts dropped their first conference game of the season to LSU-Alexandria (LSUA). Despite outshooting the Generals 13-6, with 8-4 advantage in shots on goal, the Celts fell 2-1.
The Generals opened the scoring, finishing from a corner kick in the 16th minute. The Celts pushed hard for an equalizer, and the breakthrough came in the 44th minute when Montserrat Espinosa (SR/Humble, TX) latched onto a rebound after Lena Whitt hit the post.
In the second half, both teams pushed for a goal to break the deadlock, and pressure shifted back and forth. It was the Generals who found the net in the 63rd minute after a rebound from a save from goalkeeper Emma Pinkerton.
Despite suffering their first conference loss, the Celts were able to stay positive and rebound positively against LSU-Shreveport.
"After the loss, we were able to let the past go and move on to the next mountain we needed to cross, and we did it," said Vazquez. "I was very proud of us and the way we played. We needed this win to remind us of the team that we are and to remind ourselves that we can do anything that faces us if we stick together and we work hard as a team."
Head Coach Nikola Barjaktarevic echoed the same sentiments about how positively the team responded after the loss to LSUA.
"The RRAC is getting stronger every year, and as a team we have to be ready to work hard and be switched on every single game. LSUA was very organized and aggressive, giving us very little space and they used the opportunities they created very well. Despite the loss, I'm impressed how the team reacted against LSUS as we scored two early goals and kept moving forward. These two games on the road are a great reminder how hard we have to work in every game, as it will be slightest of margins determining regular season champion and seeding for the tournament."
With the win on Saturday, the Celts improve to 3-3-1 on the season, and 2-1 in conference play.
"I think that as a team we learned that we have what it takes to win this conference," said Vazquez. "And since most of our games are away, the loss was a wake up call on how we need to prepare ourselves for away games both mentally and physically. So a positive would be that even though we lost our first game we gained experience on how we should prepare for the next away games."
The Celts are back in action this Thursday, Oct. 5 as they play the University of the Southwest at Houston Sports Park at 5:00 p.m. The game will be the annual Kick Cancer night. The team will play again at home on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 5:00 p.m. against Paul Quinn College.