UTSA soccer wins Conference USA championship

Roadrunners win first C-USA in program history

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

No. 6 UTSA defeated No. 5 FAU 3-2 in double overtime in the Conference USA championship match on Sunday afternoon. The Roadrunners beat No. 3 seed UAB and No. 2 seed North Texas en route to winning the first C-USA championship in program history.

UTSA advanced to the semifinal round of the Conference USA tournament after defeating No. 3 seed UAB 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon. The Roadrunners played UAB earlier in the season; however, they tied the game 1-1. Needing a decided winner, UTSA took down the Blazers in a second overtime period. 

Both teams played aggressively, with UTSA outshooting UAB 11-10. Kendall Kloza led the team with three shots. The Roadrunners had six shots in the first period, a corner kick and two on the goal — they just could not get them in the net. No goals were made at the end of the 90 minutes of regulation. Needing a winner, the two teams played in overtime. 

In the extra 10-minute period, UAB managed to get a shot at the goal; however, it was saved by UTSA goalkeeper Mia Krusinski, who had five saves that day. With the game still 0-0 at the end of the extra period, the teams played in a second 10-minute overtime. 

Isa Hernandez passed the ball to Avery Chaney, who saw an open Anna Sutter. Sutter sent the ball into the goal in the 108th minute to put UTSA up 1-0. However, the Roadrunners held strong in the final two minutes to survive and advance. Kloza, Sabrina Russ and Deja Sandoval played the entire 110 minutes, needing the extra rest for Friday’s semifinal. 

 No. 6 seed UTSA soccer then reached the Conference USA championship game as they upset No. 2 seed North Texas 2-1 on Friday afternoon. The Roadrunners lost to the Mean Green 3-1 earlier this season, and with the season on the line, UTSA made sure to play aggressively to move onto the next round. 

The Roadrunners outshot the Mean Green 16 to 11 and had nine on target to North Texas’ two. In the first half, UTSA outshot North Texas 10 to four while also adding three corner kicks. The first goal came from an Avery Chaney corner kick which sent the ball to Deja Sandoval, who headed the ball into UNT’s goalkeeper. However, the ball was deflected back into UTSA’s possession, and Jordan Walker kicked the ball and scored in the ninth minute.

The second goal came from UTSA in the 31st minute. Kendall Kloza earned a free kick and made the shot to extend the lead to 2-0. The Roadrunner offense kept the Mean Green defense at work, keeping the ball on North Texas’ side for 62 percent of the first half. UTSA also did not allow a shot from North Texas for the final 15 minutes of the period. 

The Mean Green matched the ‘Runners’ level of intensity from the first half, earning four corner kicks in the second period and not allowing UTSA any. North Texas scored in the 60th minute by Madison Drenowatz, which was her first goal of the season; however, the defense held their own, holding the Mean Green to one goal and seven shots and hanging on to successfully pull off the 2-1 upset. 

Marlee Fray scored two of the ‘Runners three goals in the championship match. The first came in the 32nd minute in the low center to put UTSA up 1-0. Then, Kiran Singh scored in the 36th minute off an assist from Sabrina Hillyer to go into halftime up 2-0. Both teams had six fouls and two corner kicks at the half.

The Owls answered with two goals in the second period. The first came in the 55th minute as Morgan McDonald scored off an assistant from Bri Austin. McDonald assisted on the second goal, which came in the 68th minute by Elin Simonardottir to tie the game. The two teams went to overtime, where Fray scored her second goal with a header into the goal of an Isa Hernandez corner kick. 

FAU had 12 fouls in the second period to UTSA’s four. The two teams went into a second overtime giving the Owls a chance to tie the game; however, the Roadrunners’ defense stood tall and secured the 3-2 win. 

UTSA was outshot 15-8 by FAU, 6-4 on shots on goal and had eight corner kicks to the Roadrunners’ four. The ‘Runners’ goals went through the net, and their nationally-ranked defense held down the field when the time came. 

The Roadrunners looked like their season wasn’t meant to be, finishing 11-5-4 and having a 4-3-3 C-USA record. UTSA closed their regular season 3-1 and carried that momentum by upsetting every team they played and advancing to the semifinals and championship match for the first time in program history. The UTSA Roadrunners 2022 team will go down in history as C-USA champions.