Armed with an impassable defense and a couple of sharp shooters, St. Mary’s earned a calculated 3-1 victory over Wayland Baptist at the Northside ISD Soccer Field, putting the first victory in the books for the Rattlers (1-1) this season.
The victory also gave head coach Corwyn Ritch his 100th career victory, adding another highlight to a career that has already seen him become the program’s all-time wins leader in his 12 seasons at the helm.
Jamey Coronado (Jr., San Antonio) twice connected in the game and Kaitie Kasperitis (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) also found the back of the net in a defensive showcase that saw the Rattlers deny the Pioneers from attempting a single shot in the first half.
The Rattler offense took the defense’s lead as Coronado sliced her first goal from 20 yards out, assisted by Emilie Snelson (Sr., Fairview, Texas), seven minutes into the game. Wayland Baptist’s zero-shot half starkly contrasted the Rattlers, who had seven shots before halftime.
“Once we’re amped up we’re unstoppable,” said defender Annia Olivares (Sr., El Paso, Texas), who was a main component in Saturday’s Rattler defense. “And we have that drive to win and we all want to win for each other.”
A low foul count raised the intensity of the game in the second, and heighted aggressiveness seemed to further charge the Rattlers as defense remained strong, allowing just three shots. But the Pioneer’s leading scorer, Jessica Bell, was able to net her third goal of the season with a header past Paola Ostos (Jr., El Paso, Texas).
“We came with the mentality that we were going to hard,” Olivares said, “and not let anyone past us. We wanted the win and we wanted a shutout, but unfortunately they scored. But that’s OK because we did really well.”
Wayland Baptist’s sole goal for the game came after another show from the Rattlers as last season’s lead scorer Kaitie Kasperitis (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) began her season’s goal tally with an unassisted strike after dribbling past several defenders for a clear shot for a 2-0 lead. The Pioneers matched her goal, but their momentum was short-lived as Coronado again found the back of the net less than a minute after Wayland Baptist’s goal celebration.
“My [mindset] is to just play for the team,” Coronado said. “We need to work for each other. The harder we work for each other, the easier it’s going to be to win.”
St. Mary’s balanced offense and defensive game had 15 shots on the day with 10 shots on goal, limiting the Pioneers to three shots, all of which were on goal. St. Mary’s goalie Paola Ostos (Jr., El Paso, Texas) had three saves for the day and her first victory as keeper.
Ashleigh Wells (Jr., Dallas) was geared for her first goal on the season, making three shots on goal, but was just shy of hitting the net. Coronado and Kasperitis both had two shots on goal and Leah Snelson (Jr., Dallas), Ronika Cavazos (Jr., Corpus Christi, Texas) and Brianna Shafer (Fr., Castroville, Texas) each had a look at the net.
The Rattlers will launch their Heartland Conference play Wednesday against Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas at 5 p.m.