From UTSA Press Release/UTSA Athletics Communications
Headline photo by: Soy SAF
Soccer opens preseason training camp on Tuesday morning
Roadrunners coming off abbreviated 2020-21 season in spring
SAN ANTONIO – The UTSA soccer team opened its preseason training camp on Tuesday morning with its first practice of the 2021 season, held on a gorgeous morning at the Park West Athletics Complex.
UTSA is coming off an abbreviated season in 2020-21 as the fall was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, with the team playing 11 matches during the spring Conference USA season. The Roadrunners earned their biggest win of the year with a two-goal effort from Abby Kassal in a 2-1 win over UTEP late in the season, also owning wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and at Houston Baptist.
Seniors Alyssa Blankenship and Ellis Patterson return as super seniors in 2021, with the duo bringing five years of experience to the club. Blankenship, a product of San Antonio’s Brandeis High School, has played in 46 games over her first four season. Patterson is a three-time All-Conference USA selection and has played in 60 matches over her first four seasons. A forward out of Austin, Texas, Patterson enters her final season with 46 career points, ranking fifth in UTSA history and just six points shy of taking over the No. 2 spot on UTSA’s all-time list.
In addition to the super seniors Blankenship and Patterson, senior Lexi Bolton returns to help anchor the offensive attack. Bolton has started 33 of 44 matches played in her three-year career, owning nine goals and 25 points. Kassal, a junior, started all 11 games for UTSA in 2020-21, owning four goals and nine points, after posting a pair of goals and two assists as a freshman in 2019.
In goal, UTSA returns a pair of standout keepers, including Taylor Rath and Jil Schneider. Schneider started 10 of 11 games and owned a 1.26 goals-against average, notching 26 saves and a clean sheet. Rath started one match and played in four total, owning a 1.64 goals-against average.
The Roadrunners are under the direction of fourth-year head coach Derek Pittman.
A veteran in the collegiate soccer community, Pittman took over the Roadrunners after four years as the head coach at Idaho, also serving as the head coach at Arkansas State, with assistant coaching stops at Gonzaga, Missouri and Georgia. Pittman was a four-year starter and captain at traditional power Tulsa, graduating in 1998 after a professional career followed his collegiate career.
Pittman completed his coaching staff in the preseason with the addition of a pair of dynamic young coaches, including assistant Brock Duckworth, who joined the program after a four-year tenure with Florida Gulf Coast. UTSA also added Aidan Reagh as its volunteer assistant coach and performance analyst and welcome back fourth-year assistant coach/goalkeeper specialist Cameron Carter, a native of Waco, Texas, and a four-year starter at Arkansas that saw her earn 20 shutouts for the Razorbacks. Carter posted a 18-5-1 record in 2016 at Arkansas, leading the Razorbacks to their first Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship game since 1996.
UTSA will open its 2021 season with a trio of exhibitions, starting on Aug. 7, the first of two road scrimmage matches. The full schedule is slated to be released in the coming days.