San Antonio – There are plenty of new faces surrounding St. Mary’s goalkeeper David Schmelzer this season, making the sophomore’s salty presence in the net that much more important.

On Thursday, the Castroville, Texas native exceeded the wildest of expectations.

Saving five shots, several of the diving variety, Schmelzer helped ensure a 1-0, season-opening victory over Houston-Victoria at the Northside ISD Soccer Field, the Rattlers’ makeshift home site.

With Schmelzer’s showing, Aaron Stares’ (Jr., Swindon, England) 12th-minute goal was all St. Mary’s (1-0) needed to open the year with a bang.

“Coming into the game, I knew there was a lot of pressure on this team,” said Schmelzer, whose 5.89 saves per game as a freshman ranked second-best in school history. “We beat them last year and we really wanted to win again this year. I knew we had to do it.”

Schmelzer said he still has plenty to work on, namely becoming a better leader through communication. He certainly has already mastered the athleticism requirements.

Showing spring-like hops and soft hands, Schmelzer allowed nothing past his reach. If the Jaguars shot it wide, he would dive. If it was high, he’d jump. And when needed, he’d combine the two movements.

Houston-Victoria (1-1) actually outshot St. Mary’s 13-7, but not even that was enough to slice through the Rattlers’ staunch defense.

The Rattlers will try to remain perfect on the year when they host Lubbock Christian at 2 p.m. Saturday at NISD Soccer Field.

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