The Roadrunners are entering year two of the Derek Pittman era. Last season saw UTSA improve record wise from the 2017 campaign but fell short of the Conference USA tournament. UTSA doubled its win count from three in 2017 to six in 2018 and is looking to build on lessons learned from last season. What is more important from the win total was the change of culture and work ethic Coach Pittman and his staff instilled on the UTSA soccer program. Here is a preview of the 2019 season.
GK – Michelle Cole
D- Melissa Finley
MF – Rebekah Kensing, Olivia Nicholls, Channing Machen, Marianne Hernandez
GK: Sophie Miilich, Jil Schnieder
D: Makayla Wang, Deja Sandoval
MF/D: Alex Granville
D: Sarah Bayhi
MF: Katieann Lotche, Nicole Galan, Isa Hernandez
F: Lexi Bolton, Ellis Patterson, Kaitlyn Bumgarner
The objective for Head Coach Derek Pittman and the Roadrunners is to make the conference tournament. This year the CUSA championship will take place in Denton, which would be an important milestone and would be special to reach. UTSA soccer has not been to a conference tournament since 2011 when the Roadrunners were in the Southland Conference.
Forwards: The one-two punch of Ellis Patterson and Lexi Bolton produced 11 goals and 8 assists among them. Both Ellis and Lexi were thorns in the sides of defenses all season long and should have a bigger season in 2019. With the addition of Kaitlyn Bumgarner (missed 2018 with an injury) into the rotation, looks like UTSA will have enough fire power up front to cause havoc all season long. Will be interesting to see how Coach Pittman uses Patterson, Bolton and Bumgarner, maybe a three attacker front or keep two attackers and rotate with fresh attackers through 90 minutes. Either way, it will be a potent offense.
Midfielders: Katieann Lotche scored two game winning goals last season and as senior will be looked upon to provide leadership. Isa Hernandez is another midfielder that can provide leadership and has the ability to create passes and chances for the strikers up front. Nicole Galan had 34 starts during her freshman and sophomore years, but only appeared in 9 last season, Galan should bounce back and return to the starting XI on a regular basis in 2019. Freshman Maci Bakarich from Sacramento recorded 22 goals in high school and is two time state champion.
Defense: Senior Sarah Bayhi will be the centerpiece of the defense corps for the Roadrunners, has completed in every single match since her freshman season and had a goal and assist last year. Camrynne Hoover is also a very important part of the defense. Sophomore Kendall Kloza transferred from VCU and is now back in her hometown of San Antonio. Freshman Deja Sandoval, Makayla Wang and Alex Granville will be looking at getting playing time. Sandoval was 2019 district player of the year. Granville was defensive player of the year and played club soccer for the Orlando Pride. Wang played in the TASCO All Star Game senior year.
Goalkepers: Only returning goalkeeper is Gabriella Mariello who did not see action in 2018, new keepers Sophie Milich is a transfer from Auburn and Jil Schneider is coming from Switzerland having played for the U19 national team and has played in the highest league in Switzerland.
The Season: The 2019 season starts with a exhibition against Incarnate Word on August 11th at UTSA’s Park West Athletic Complex. Face Texas State at home on August 30th. Conference play begins with a three game home stand versus Middle Tennessee on September 22nd and wraps up with an away game at UTEP in El Paso on November 1st. The Conference USA championship will take place in Denton, Texas from November 6-10.
UTSA Soccer news: https://goutsa.com/index.aspx?path=wsoc