In Texas State soccer’s (3-2-1) annual Teal Match, and its first official home game of the year, the Bobcats came out with a 4-0 win against the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders (2-4-1) at home on Sept. 12.
Texas State’s annual Teal Match honors those who have survived, are currently battling or have succumbed to ovarian cancer as well as promotes awareness of the disease. For Texas State Head Coach Kat Conner, a survivor of ovarian cancer, this cause hits close to home.
“It’s great,” Conner said. “If they didn’t know about our Teal Match and what we are going about with ovarian cancer, it gives us a chance to spread awareness. It’s so important for us to do that. Of course, our Teal Match is always to honor women who are fighting ovarian cancer and, of course, any that have passed from ovarian cancer.
We’re just really excited that people get to share in that with us. I’m very happy with our team in the sense that they took an extra honor into it to just go for goals and be focused. It paid off.”
The players themselves put special significance on this game as well. Senior midfielder Ally Kewish said this match means more than most other matches.
“Usually we are just fighting for each other and our team but in this game, we are fighting for a cause,” Kewish said. “We are fighting ovarian cancer so it means a lot more.”
Texas State held control from the outset. The Bobcats were able to stifle any Islander attack and create opportunities for themselves throughout the match, leading to the scoring opportunities and, ultimately, the victory.
The first half saw a lot of back-and-forth action between the teams. TAMU-CC had two shots in the first two minutes but neither shot was on goal. After settling into the game, Texas State controlled possession.
After these early tests of the defense by the Islanders, Texas State shot nine shots, four on target, and three corners as a result of efficient ball and player movement. Just after the 34-minute mark, Kewish was subbed on and provided immediate impact.
Just 48 seconds after Kewish was subbed in, senior midfielder Hannah Solano found Kewish for a goal just inside the box to put the Bobcats up 1-0.
Kewish said she visualized herself scoring in this match and fed off the momentum after being subbed in.
“It felt great,” Kewish said. “I don’t know why but I knew I was going to score … I knew once we got started we were going to get momentum and get going and that's exactly what happened. Once it rains it pours.”
For Conner, she was most pleased with this goal in particular because of Kewish’s status as a senior and her work ethic in practice.
“To tell you the truth, I really like Ally’s because she’s been working really hard and she needs it for her confidence,” Conner says. “She comes out here and she puts it all together and she’s a senior and I like that she’s able to do that. So I’m proud of her for getting that first goal.”
After more back and forth between the teams, Texas State once again found the goal, this time from sophomore forward Olivia Wright, to put the Bobcats up 2-0 going into the half.
In the first half, Texas State managed five corner kicks and 16 shots compared to the Islanders’ one corner and three shots. None of Corpus Christi’s shots were on goal in the first half.
Just over one minute into the second half, the Bobcats furthered their lead with a goal from junior midfielder/forward Kiara Gonzales, who had been previously denied a goal by the crossbar in the first half. Assisting on the play was junior defender/midfielder Kamaria Williams.
After being denied by the bar earlier in the match, Gonzales and the rest of the team were pushing for her to get her goal. When she saw the opportunity she went for it.
“During halftime, everyone was like, ‘go get your goal Ki,’” Gonzales said. “I was like, “I’m getting my goal,’ because that’s what I’ve been wanting the past few games … I just saw [the ball] and I went up for it and headed it in.”
Up 3-0, Texas State toned its attacking back a bit, opting to safely control possession. In the 52nd minute of play, Gonzales found sophomore midfielder Mya Ulloa for the Bobcats' fourth goal of the afternoon, further solidifying the victory.
At this point of the match fatigue and heat took its toll on both teams and the Bobcats cruised to the 4-0 win.
“We’re pretty hyped,” Gonzales said. “We’re super excited with the conference starting next week. Having this win underneath us is definitely going to push us to want to do better and play better and keep the momentum and standard up.”
In Texas State’s first Sun Belt Conference test of the year, the Bobcats will take on Coastal Carolina University (2-3-1) at home on Sept 16 at noon.