LAREDO — TWU outshot Texas A&M International 19-5 on Saturday afternoon en route to a 2-0 victory at Dustdevil Soccer Field to finish regular season play.
“I really thought we put a lot of pressure on them in the second half,” coach Babak Abouzar said. “We made some adjustments at halftime that made things difficult for them. Being able to execute those adjustments really has me excited as we move into the postseason.”
Senior goalkeeper Daniela Marin recorded her ninth shutout of the season behind a Pioneer defensive unit that ranks fourth in the Lone Star Conference with 15 goals allowed through 18 games.
“We just take a lot of pride in getting shutouts and limiting opportunities for the other team,” Abouzar said. “Not only has our back line played well, but everything starts up front with our forwards. They’re our first line of defense, and their defensive effort just feeds over to our midfield and defenders.”
TWU (14-4, 10-3) started the scoring in the 20th minute when Jaycee Fuller controlled a loose ball and fired a shot from outside the penalty box into the upper left corner of the net to give the Pioneers an early edge. Fuller entered the game as a substitute just 43 seconds before her goal.
While the Pioneers continued to create scoring chances, the Texas A&M International goalkeeper made several good saves to keep the Dustdevils (2-13-2, 1-10-2) in the game.
But eventually, TWU’s offensive pressure caught up with the Dustdevils’ defense. In the 79th minute, sophomore Keely Chapman sent a pass on the ground that found the feet of sophomore Abigail Martinez. Martinez proceeded to bang one off the crossbar and into the net to put the nail in the coffin.
With today’s score, Martinez moved into the team lead for goals scored this season with eight. She also ranks 11th in the Lone Star Conference in goals scored.The win comes at a pivotal time for TWU, who will enter next week’s Lone Star Conference Tournament as the No. 4 seed. The Pioneers will host a quarterfinal round at Pioneer Soccer Park on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. against either Angelo State or West Texas A&M, pending tonight’s results.
“When we play our game and play the way we’re capable of, we’re a hard team to compete with,” Abouzar said. “It comes down to us doing the simple things right and playing to our standard. If we do that, we’ll be successful moving forward.”