BAKERSFIELD, Calif., 8/23/13 – Southern Utah (0-1) grabbed its first goal and lead of the season as freshman Aurora Moberly and senior Sabrina Hernandez connected for a score during the opening minutes of the Thunderbirds season opener at CSU Bakersfield (1-0) on Friday night. The Roadrunners were able to even things up before the half however and added three more goals in the second period to rally for a 4-1 victory.
"I couldn't be prouder of our progress, with a group of 14 new players of course you're going to make mistakes here and there, and tonight Bakersfield punished us for them in the form of goals. The No. 24 for their team was deadly," commented SUU head coach Becky Hogan.
The Thunderbirds first shot of the night found the back of the net as Hernandez took a pass from Moberly and fired the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal to give Southern Utah a 1-0 advantage in the 11th minute. SUU held on to the lead for the next 20 minutes until Bakersfield senior forward Erica Shelton notched an equalizer from close range to even the count at 1-1 heading into the break.
Shelton struck again from 35 yards out in the 65th minute to give the Roadrunners the lead and freshman Caroline Muoio added a header a short while later to stretch the margin to 3-1. Shelton was then able complete the hat trick by scoring off a free kick a few moments later to set the final tally at 4-1.
Shots were essentially even for both sides as Southern Utah finished the match with 10 attempts while Bakersfield recorded 12. The Thunderbirds held a 5-2 advantage on corner kicks and one caution was issued to each team.
Annabelle Schwab led SUU with three shots in the contest, followed by Madison Wood who had two shots on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Elyssa Hashimoto made four saves for the T-Birds.
"I'm so incredibly proud of how our players respond to challenges," stated Hogan. "This is a strong team and grows by leaps and bounds every day."
Southern Utah returns to Cedar City for its next match as the Thunderbirds get set to host UC Santa Barbara in their home opener this coming Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Coverage of SUU soccer is available at www.suutbirds.com.