UHV coach Adrian Rigby’s goal in non-conference is to get looks at the new faces for the men’s soccer team.

During preseason training, the team has not had many opportunities to practice recently due to heavy rains and the 14th-year coach knows they need to gel.

The Jaguars endured a rough patch in a 2-0 season-opening loss to University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on Thursday at The Cage.

“They’re a good squad,” Rigby said. “They do well in their conference and in Division III. They’re a good team. That’s why I scheduled them for non-conference. They gave us a good game.”

The Jaguars (0-1-0) struggled in the attacking third, managing six shots. Three were struck on frame.

Karlo Lopez, the team’s leading goal scorer last year, was subbed off after 22 minutes with a minor injury and didn’t return to the game.

In the second half, UHV was able to create more chances in the Crusaders’ end, but was unable to find the space needed to score.

“That’s just the lack of time together,” Rigby said. “That’s just lack of reps, lack of practice and lack of quality we had today. We had some good possessions. We just missed that final piece of quality to put the ball in the back of the net.”

UMHB opened the scoring in the 31st minute on a goal by freshman Jack Bryan. Patrick Roach provided the brace in the 73rd minute with a header past goalkeeper Tyler Kappeli, who made his debut for UHV.

Kappeli made three saves from five shots on goal Thursday.

Roach’s goal was a sign of the Jaguars’ inability to win the aerial battles against the Crusaders.

“It’s a shame because we’re actually very good aerially, as well,” said senior defender Adam Thompson. “We have two very large centerbacks, so that’s something we’re definitely going to work on going forward. I don’t think it’ll be a massive problem for us in the future.”

With the new faces on the team, Thompson, who serves as a team captain, wants to make sure they know the importance of winning at home.

Thursday was UHV’s first home loss in 22 matches, a streak that dates back to Oct. 29, 2018 when the Jaguars lost to LSU-Alexandria.

“We’re trying to get that through to the new boys and show them this is the UHV way. We’re not meant to lose (at home),” Thompson said. “Because in the future, we want to win all of these games, especially when we go into conference.”

Sam is a Sports Reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach him at sfowler@vicad.com or (361) 580-6576. You can follow him on Twitter @Fowlersports14.

Assistant Sports Editor

Sam is the Assistant Sports Editor with experience covering high school sports in West Texas, South Texas and anywhere in between. Sam graduated from Angelo State University in 2017, where he also featured as a punter on their football team.