August 22, 2014

Islanders Soccer Draws With Houston in Season Opener

HOUSTON – The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's soccer team opened its second season in program history by earning a 0-0 draw against the University of Houston on Friday night. Redshirt freshman Megan Delaney made four saves to earn a shutout in her first career appearance.

"I'm really proud of the way our girls battled tonight," head coach Shanna Caldwell said. "They fought for each other and competed for 110 minutes. This game definitely gives us a boost to move forward and build upon.

"Still, we had too many unforced giveaways all over the field. And we need to connect our final pass more. However, with that said, in our first 90-minute match of the year I was pleased with our starting point.

"We will enjoy tonight," she added, "and tomorrow we focus on the next game. We have to be able to play Friday and Sunday throughout the season, so this will be a good test."

The first half saw even play between the two squads, with both having some solid opportunities, but no top-notch chances. UH earned consecutive corners in the 31st minute, and unleashed a shot on the second opportunity, but it went wide of the frame. The Islanders earned a corner on a nice offensive effort by Hailey Sutton, but Sutton was unable to connect on the ensuing serve and the game remained scoreless into halftime.

The second half saw both teams ratchet up the pressure, but neither able to crack the scoreboard. The Islanders had two golden opportunities – the first on an Yvette Franco cross in the 58th minute, as the sophomore shook her defender and sent a ball across the goal mouth from the left side. But no Islander could find the other end of the pass and the game remained scoreless.

Houston had some strong chances in the final 20 minutes, but the Islanders defense held strong. Delaney was forced to make two brilliant stops – the first diving to her left in the 73rd minute and the second on a high ball that she deflected off the crossbar. A&M-Corpus Christi had a strong chance in the final minute off a free kick, as the ball caromed high in the air in the box. But no player could get her foot on the chance, and the game went to overtime still scoreless.

In the first overtime, the Islanders held the edge in play, and nearly got the winner, as Sutton headed a ball on the near side to Nanna Poulsen in the box, but the newest member of the Islanders was unable to put her volley on frame, as it sailed high and wide to the left.

The second overtime was all Islanders. A&M-Corpus Christi had nearly a half-dozen chances in the 10-minute period, two coming on headers in the box by Kallyn Redona off free kicks from Delaney. Zoe Cole also had an opportunity on a break up the left side, placing a shot on frame, and Yvette Franco earned a corner that sent a ball deep into the box. But the visitors were unable to find the back of the net, and had to settle for the scoreless tie.

A&M-Corpus Christi will be back in action on Sunday, when it faces Texas Southern in Houston at 2 p.m. Updates will be provided as they become available on the official Islanders Soccer Twitter feed, @IslandersSoccer.