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Sophomore makes splash in first game of 2013 (VIDEO)

Keldy  Ortiz

By Keldy Ortiz
Aug. 24, 2013 at 3:24 a.m.

University of Southwest's Gloria Castillo attempts to catch up to UHV forward Sheilat Akapo as she drives toward the goal during the Jaguars' season home opener on Saturday. The Jaguars defeated the Lady Mustangs 3-0.

Sheilat Akapo wanted to make up for old times Saturday.

In her first year wearing a UHV uniform, the Houston native scored only three goals in eight games last season.

With other talented players surrounding her, Akapo's chances to show off her offensive skills were few.

In the Jaguars first game of the season, Akapo got her chance.

The sophomore matched her scoring from a year ago as the Jaguars rolled past the University of Southwest 3-0. The three goals scored by Akapo was the first hat trick in UHV women's soccer history.

"Some of the balls she got through, she did the easy part just tucking it," coach Adrian Rigby said. "We're real proud of her. Hopefully, it gives her a lot of confidence for the next game because scoring three goals in one game is no easy task."

Akapo arrived at UHV seeking an opportunity to play soccer. She met with Rigby about joining the team and then walked on to the team.

"I didn't get the chance to play in high school, so I was practicing," Akapo said. "I was getting better and I thought if I could make it on a college team, everything I would have done would have paid off."

Akapo didn't know she set a record Saturday.

She didn't think about it much because she hopes she's not the last player to score a hat trick.

In the first half of play, Akapo scored in the 22nd minute after stealing the ball away from a Lady Mustang defender.

The other two goals came in the second half, thanks assists by Alexis Hernandez in the 57th minute and Briana Holmes in the 80th minute.

"(Akapo) works the same way in practice," Holmes said. "She does everything she can, even if no one is still there. I like that."

Akapo didn't play in the first game of the year for the Jaguars last season because she came in late.

Rigby decided to give her a chance to play Saturday.

It worked.

"This year, she has come in fit, and part of it is getting in the good habits of scoring goals," Rigby said. "Really, she can be a player that scores buckets of goals for us each game. It's just a matter of how badly she wants to score these goals."

Akapo accepted the challenge and said scoring goals Saturday will not be her last time.

"They believe in me so much," Akapo said about the team. "As soon as I made the team, they treated me like family. This season they gave me a challenge to score 14 goals. This is the beginning."



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