Above photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru/russellmarwitz.com
LONGVIEW, Texas- History was made on Thursday night, as the UMHB women’s soccer team won not only its conference opener, but also its eighth straight match, making it the best start to a season in program history.
In the men’s match that followed, UMHB and LETU played 90 minutes without either side finding the back of the net, as the result was a 0-0 draw.
The women’s team, ranked No. 15 in the nation by the United Soccer Coaches, is now 8-0, and the men are 4-1-2.
How it happened (Women’s match)
The Cru emerged with a 4-0 victory over LeTourneau, as the defense was stellar once again, holding the YellowJackets to a total of three shots and just one in the first half.
Meanwhile, it took less than two minutes for UMHB to establish a lead, as MacKenzie Worthy found the back of the net at the 1:44 mark. The goal unfolded as UMHB moved the ball past midfield and into LeTourneau territory with Maria Rico deflecting a pass from the right side straight to Worthy, who automatically fired a shot from about 15 yards out and scored.
In the ninth minute, it was Worthy again, scoring just inside the box, as she extended the UMHB lead to 2-0.
It was 2-0 at halftime, but UMHB’s offense did not become quiet in the second half. In the 67th minute, Rico scored in the left corner of the goal on a header, off a corner kick. Constance White provided the Cru’s fourth goal of the match, when she put one in off an assist from Kennedy Harris in the 86th minute.
UMHB took 26 shots in the match, with 11 of those on goal. The Cru’s offensive opportunities increased as the second half progressed, and that was visible on the final box score, with UMHB having taken nearly double the amount of shots it did in the first half (9) in the second half (17). Several of those scoring opportunities, such as Rico’s goal, came on corner kicks, as UMHB recorded 14 corner kicks in the match.
Worthy posted the first multi-goal performance of her UMHB career, and perhaps more impressively, scored twice on just three total shots. Her shooting percentage of .167 ranks second on the team amongst players who have taken at least 10 shots this season. Rico led the team with eight shots. Ainsley Westlake played 45 minutes at goalkeeper and tallied two saves.
How it happened (Men’s match)
Exceptional defense and goalkeeping took center stage in the nightcap, as the ASC foes traded shots, without either side experiencing much success.
That is not to say both squads did not have their chances, though, as UMHB fired 26 shots with nine on goal, and LETU had 10, with three on goal.
The Crusaders’ first real scoring chance came in the 16th minute, when Nick Villanueva sent a shot to the bottom left of the frame, only to have LETU goalkeeper Raul Torrez make the save. Before the 24th minute was over, UMHB had already tallied two more shots on frame.
In the second half, the strong defense continued for both sides, and Torrez accumulated six second-half saves, keeping a clean sheet despite several well-placed shots from the Cru. UMHB’s defense, which held the YellowJackets to just one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes, kept LETU’s offensive attack at bay. Early in the 86th minute, UMHB goalkeeper Dalton Lloyd made his third save of the night, on a shot to the bottom center of the goal.
UMHB had one last chance in the 88th minute, but Patrick Roach’s header sailed directly into the hands of Torrez.
Thursday marked the second time in the history of this matchup that the final score ended up 0-0. On Oct. 24, 2015, UMHB and LETU also battled in a 0-0 draw, as current UMHB assistant coach Javier Zaragoza tallied five saves at goalkeeper for the Cru. This is also the first time since March 1, 2021 that UMHB played a match that ended tied.
Ethan Dacaret led the Cru offensively with five shots, while Villanueva and Roach each had four. Lloyd tallied his second shutout of the season, playing all 90 minutes with a trio of saves.
Both the men’s and women’s teams face ETBU in Marshall at 12 p.m. (women), 2:30 p.m. (men) on Saturday. The ETBU women are 6-3-1 overall this season, and 0-1 in ASC play. ETBU’s men’s team is 5-3-1, with a 0-1 ASC record.