New head coach Pittman finding immediate success
After a disappointing 3-14 season last year, UTSA’s women’s soccer team is looking to bounce back in 2018. The first three exhibition games did not do much to calm the nerves of UTSA soccer fans, as the team went an even 1-1-1 with a win over Houston Baptist University. However, through the first five games this regular season under new head coach Derek Pittman, the ‘Runners stand 3-2 already matching last years win total with victories over Northwestern State, Oral Roberts and Grand Canyon.
Pittman, who has over 17 years of collegiate coaching experience, left his head coaching job at the University of Idaho to come to UTSA. He has an impressive résumé, beginning with his own collegiate playing career at the University of Tulsa, where he was a four-year starter and elected team captain. Pittman was also named 2015 Big Sky Coach of the Year when he led the University of Idaho Vandals to a 14-4-3 record. In 2015 and 2016, he led them to back-to-back Big Sky Conference regular season championships. His 2015 team also set the school’s record for points, goals and assists.
Having already tied the win total from last year, the ‘Runners are looking to make a statement this season. Although the departure of forward, Kaja Skare, is a huge loss, UTSA has key players returning for the 2018 season like standout goalie Michelle Cole, forward’s Ellis Patterson and Jordyn Lacy and midfielders Channing Machen and Katieann Lochte.
In addition to her success on the pitch, goal keeper Michelle Cole is an excellent student having been awarded the Conference-USA Academic Medal three times, as well as being put on the Conference-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll three times. Last season, Cole logged the most time in the net with 1033:17 minutes played and 14 games started. She also amassed 60 saves and 34 goals allowed. Looking stellar this year, she has made 16 saves and only allowed six goals through five contests. In her final season at UTSA, she looks poised to have her best year yet.
In 2017, the leading scorers for the team were Ellis Patterson and Channing Machen with four goals and three goals, respectfully. Patterson was placed on the 2017 Conference-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll for her academic success. Both are ready to make a similar impact this season. However, the biggest surprise from this current season is the emergence of freshman forward Lexi Bolton, who has two goals through five games played. Her first and second goals both came against Oral Roberts where she scored the only points of the game. Look for these three to lead the ‘Runners in goals and assists this season.
This upcoming weekend, UTSA is playing Lamar University (3-2) and the University of Incarnate Word (0-3) before finally starting conference play. A key to UTSA defeating Lamar is to keep forward Kelso Peskin at bay, as she has scored five of the team’s 14 goals. Incarnate Word has yet to score a goal through three contests.
The future for UTSA soccer is looking bright. The team is full of young players and scoring power, and not to mention new coach Derek Pittman has a history of building winning programs. There is no doubt the team is poised for one of their best seasons yet.