San Antonio – Though it had been a few years since she last got the urge, there was a time when St. Mary’s University senior forward Carolina Hernandez would perform a dance after every single goal she scored.
So when the El Paso, Texas, native started netting one goal after another Wednesday, she just couldn’t hold it in any longer.
After her third and final goal in a 3-0 victory over Texas A&M International University, Hernandez stopped a few feet in front of the net and did a little dance at St. Mary’s Soccer Field.
“I haven’t had a hat trick in my entire college career, so I decided I’d bring it back,” she said of the dance. “At least for the hat trick.”
Hernandez’s hat trick marked the ninth in the program’s history, and fell just one goal short of the school’s single-game record of four, set in 2004 by Kelly Felts. It also marked the Rattlers’ second hat trick of the season, as freshman Jamey Coronado recorded one earlier this month.
Hernandez’s three goals came on five shots.
“It was just the way things unfolded,” Hernandez said. “I actually was tired today. I had a granola bar for energy. I just wanted to pull out a win. I wasn’t expecting three goals at all.”
Ashlyn Leighton (Fr., Houston) assisted Hernandez’s first goal, which came at the 15:18 mark. Several minutes later, Jamey Coronado (Fr., San Antonio) assisted her second goal, a header off a corner kick at the 18:26 mark. Then, with about 23 minutes left, Melinda Gentry (Sr., Plano, Texas) set up Hernandez in front of the net for her third goal.
Goalkeeper Felicia Lombardo (Fr., New Braunfels, Texas) pitched a shutout with six saves. St. Mary’s (4-4-1, 1-0 Heartland Conference) outshot A&M International 22-13.
For the Rattlers, the game marked their fourth straight multi-goal match, a stretch in which they have gone 3-0-1. Wednesday’s victory gave them their fourth victory of the season, matching their total from all of last season.
“Coming into my senior year, I just wanted to win,” Hernandez said. “I didn’t want to set records for scoring or anything like that. I just wanted to win and remember what it felt like. It feels amazing.”