2021 Women’s soccer season has begun in San Antonio, Texas and the hype could not be any greater. Already the Halo Classic on Saturday Jan 30 kicked off between the Saints of Our Lady of the Lack (OLLU) v the Lady Ratlers of St. Mary’s University. The win going narrowly to OLLU. OLLU begins the season at 2-0 after defeating Howard Payne University. UTSA and UIW have already played friendlies as well, and seem to be ready to make statements within their conferences. UTSA is seeking a first ever playoff birth in a tough C – USA as Coach Derek Pittman’s philosophy of winning has the impressive Road Runners poised to take a stand in Conference-USA. UTSA has been ranked at #3 in the C- USA Preseason Poll. The University of Incarnate Word seeks to capitalize on 2019 playoff appearance in Southland Conference. This 2021 season, the squad already has four Cardinals named to Southland Pre-season All Conference team. Trinity U Tigers ended 2019-2020 with an impressive 17-4-1 overall record in SCAC Conference and the Lady Tigers are dead set in improving this 2021 season. Season play begins Feb 27 at Austin College.
Here are the top players you need to look out for this season.
UIW – SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE – NCCA DIV. I
#26 ISABELLA BELETIC– SR – M/FW – In 2019-2020 season, UIW had an absolute historic campaign in which the Lady Cards, for the first time in Southland Conference, made a playoffs Tournament appearance. Isabella was key in making that happen. Played eighteen matches with four goals. This Card Midfield General will be key in going further into the Southland Conference. Easy to say, this player logs in miles and minutes with successful results.
#19 KEELEY AYALA – JR – M/FW – The UIW Finisher! Ayala, has had some game winning goals, none more memorable than a double OT stunner in 2019 at home. Tenacious and persistent on the field. Don’t let the creativity fool you, Ayala is known to put in work on the defensive side of the ball. 2019 saw Ayala score thirteen goals in the season and scoring twice in two matches. Keep watch for more clutch goals.
UTSA – CONFERENCE USA – NCAA DIV. I
#14 ELLIS PATTERSON – JR- F – Terrorizing defenses in Conference USA, Patterson in 2019 played 17 games, scoring six times – two of them being game winners with four assist. Already named to the All Conference USA Preseason squad, this 2021 season will for sure see Patterson capitalize where she left off in 2019. Powerful off the step watch for her creativity and skill on the ball.
#2 KENDALL KLOZA – JR- D – Where there’s a high powered offense there will always equally be a stout defense and UTSA fits the label. Kloza started all seventeen games in 2019 after transferring back to San Anton from VCU ( Virginia Commonwealth University). In her first season as a defender for UTSA, Kloza started all seventeen matches was able to score twice with an assist. One goal being an absolute game winner for the Roadrunners.
Trinity University – SCAC (Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference) NCAA DIV. 3
#4 Kaity Ward – JR – MF – Trinity U has returns to play with a very impressive 2019 in which saw the team go into the 3rd Round of NCAA DIII Playoffs and Ward was every part of it. The Jr has already played twenty-one matches knocking in seven goals with seven assists and two game winning goals. AND SHES NOT DONE! Watch for Katy Ward to lead the Tigers further into SCAC playoffs and capitalizing on her scoring account.
#2 Lindsey Peng – JR – D – Returning for her third year, Peng up to this point has fifteen assist with two goals. It is safe to say that Peng is the backbone of the Tigers Defense. Toughness and unafraid to take on any challenger coming at goal. Locking down opponents will be a guarantee at home and away and the Tiger defender will be aiming to be one of the top defenders in the backfield in SCAC Conference play.
OLLU SAINTS ( OUR LADY OF THE LAKE UNIVERSITY) – NAIA – Red River Athletic Conference
#7 YOLANDA VASQUEZ – SR – MF – Leading the way for the Saints in 2021, Vasquez has already opened her scoring account against Howard Payne University. Starting her fourth season for the Saints, the SR begins with nine career goals five assists and thirty-two games played. Impressive for the Veteran. Leadership and experience is key and Vasquez will lead the a strong midfield and be lethal at taking shots on goal.
#2 – KYLEIGH SPREE-KOLOS – FR- F – Now hear me out! Yes , a freshman. Spree- Kolos joins OLLU from Victoria East HS and already is making a major impact in OLLU Soccer. As of now, OLLU is 2-0 and Kolos has already scored twice. She was key in the SA Sixth Halo Classic Derby with six shots on goal with three on target against OLLU. The freshman has already recorded her first game double in a 3-1 victory over Howard Payne University. A promising beginning and is paving the way for OLLU success. This girl is going to be good!
ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY RATTLERS – NCAA DIV. II – LONESTAR CONFERENCE
#10 Serana Frank – SR – F – Rattlers Soccer is under new management with Coach Kevin Driggs and there is nothing more hopeful than reliable leadership. Frank brings in that quality to the Rattlers program. Having played forty-seven matches with two goals and an assist, the SR is one to watch as a new era in St. Marys soccer begins.
#3 KYLIE VON HOLLE – JR- F – One of St. Marys best PK takers. Von Holle was impressive already 2021 in a narrow loss to Rival Our Lady of The Lake Halo Classic. Has played thirty-one matches of the Rattlers going 2-3 in PK’s. The Rattlers forward showed impressive stamina in the Halo Classic and taking three shots on goal. With newly appointed coach Kevin Driggs now at the helm, Von Holle will be key up front in attacking and keeping keepers on alert.