UHV falls to St. Mary's, optimistic about home opener
Any hopes the University of Houston-Victoria soccer teams had of kicking of their home opener with unblemished records evaporated Thursday afternoon in San Antonio.
St. Mary's University used a pair of goals midway in the second half to pull away from the UHV women 4-1. Meanwhile, the men could not find a response to Aaron Stares' 13th minute goal en route to a 1-0 loss.
Despite several half-chances - UHV had twice as a many shots as the Rattlers, seven corner kicks -the Jaguars unleash a shot that troubled Rattler goalie David Schmelzer.
Both teams kick off their home seasons Saturday afternoon against Texas Lutheran.
After a challenging preseason that included a match against a Division I opponent in Lamar and finding the right collection of parts to fit into his system, head coach Adrian Rigby said his team has overcome some of the shortcomings that might have plagued them in 2010.
A pair of freshmen center backs will be in the heart of a team that has a chance to double its 2010 win total with a victory over Bulldogs.
"We have two brand new center backs that are stepping in and doing a very good job," Rigby said. "Taylor Belcher played very good in the back against a girl who scored 16 goals last year for Northwood. Monika as well, they are developing confidence each game they play. .We are solidified in the back and the two center backs we are very impressed with."
Despite the formidable freshmen, redshirt freshman DJ Galang said the biggest key going forward will be her team's finishing. She said if the Jaguars can do that, they have a chance to play with and defeat anyone this fall.
"It's just the confidence of taking the shot and telling ourselves 'You know what, I am going to put this in the goal,'" said Galang, who scored the game winner in the Aug. 25 season opener against Northwood. "We have to build our confidence."
Rigby added a big home crowd would specifically give his women's team a huge shot of confidence.
Adrian Mendoza did not join the team until the preseason, but he has been a revelation at center forward. The freshman from Houston scored a hat trick in the opener as a substitute, found his way into the starting lineup Thursday, and got off a couple shots.
"There are certain guys who do a good job coming off the bench," Rigby said. "These guys are mature enough now that they are starting to trust the coaches to put them in situations where they will succeed. Adrian just ran with it (last) Thursday. In my mind he played a great game."
With the influx of freshmen contributing to both teams, Saturday's match might be the first chance to see the future of Jaguar soccer.