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Early Goals Lift SMU Over Houston, 3-1, in Regular-Season Finale
SMU Clinches Spot In AAC Championship
HOUSTON (SMU) – The SMU women's soccer team scored three goals in the opening 25 minutes, en route to a 3-1 victory in its final regular-season match at Houston Thursday night. With the win, SMU improved to 12-5-1 overall, 6-2-1 in the American Athletic Conference, and clinched a spot in the AAC Championship. SMU remains in third place in the AAC Conference standings (19 points), as No. 19 Connecticut (22 points) and [RV] Memphis (21 points) each earned wins.
"We moved the ball really well," SMU head coach Chris Petrucelli said. "It made it hard to defend and we really created problems in the [Houston] back field. We were pretty efficient in our scoring, scoring three quality goals on five shots."
Redshirt sophomore Vanessa Valadez opened scoring in the 19th minute, beating Houston's (6-7-3, 1-6-2 AAC) goalkeeper on a one-on-one attack. From just past midfield, Blair Thorpe split a pair of defenders with a through ball, where a crashing Valadez collected and tapped in for the goal. The goal is Valadez's ninth of the season and 18th of her career. Thorpe was credited with an assist, her fifth of the season and ninth of her career.
In the 24th minute, Hannah Fleet scored her fourth goal of the season, netting a pass from Valadez. From the far side of the 18-yard box, Valadez dribbled the ball to the top of the six-yard box, before laying it off to Fleet who scored from six-yards out to give SMU a 2-0 lead.
A minute later (25th), Claire Oates headed in a Haley Thompson corner kick to give SMU a 3-0 lead. Oates has eight goals this season, and 18 in her career. Thompson has seven assists this season, eight in her career.
SMU took 10 shots with eight on frame. Five different Mustangs took shots, all with two apiece. Valadez, Fleet and Avery Ortmann all logged two shots on goal. The SMU defense allowed only three shots, with two on frame.
Next up for the Mustangs is the American Athletic Conference Championship. The winner of The American regular season, which concludes Sunday, will host the tournament. Tournament play opens Nov. 2 and runs through Nov. 6. For more information, visit SMUMustangs.com.
"We are going to rest and recover," Petrucelli added. "Most teams had a bye week and we didn't, so the chance to rest and recover is the most important thing [in our preparation]."
Keep up with all the latest news and information on the Mustangs by following SMU women's soccer on Twitter at @SMUSoccerW, on Facebook at Facebook.com/SMUSoccerw, and on Instagram at Instagram.com/SMUSoccerW. Twitter at @SMUMustangs or Instagram at SMU.Mustangs.
The last time SMU won 12 games was in 2006 (17-5-1)
The last time SMU won six conference games was in 2011 (7-3-1 C-USA)
The last time SMU advanced to the conference tournament was in 2014
SMU improves to 14-1-2 all-time over Houston
SMU is outscoring opponents 46-20...SMU is averaging 2.56, while holding opposing teams to 1.11 goals per game
SMU has recorded 290 shots, 145 shots on goal (50.0 percent), holding the opposition to 189 shots, 64 on goal (33.9 percent)
PonyFans.com ... is really the premier place for Mustang talk on the Web.
— New York Times
So excited for this team. A great regular season and still a big chance to make some noise in the conference tournament and hopefully the NCAA as well.
SMU has clinched third place in the conference and will play the 6-seed in the first round. UConn and Memphis have the top two seeds and a bye clnched.
A lot of crazy scenarios going into the final day of American action Sunday with only six teams making the conference tournament. The top seed hosts so the tournament will almost certainly be in Storrs with UConn playing ECU Sunday.
SMU could play UCF, Tulsa, USF, or Cincinnati in the first round.
1. UConn (22, 7-0-1)
2. Memphis (21, 7-1-0)
3. SMU (19, 6-2-1)
4. UCF (13, 4-3-1)
5. Tulsa (12, 4-4-0)
6. USF (11, 3-3-2)
6. Cincinnati (11, 3-3-2)
8. Houston (5, 1-6-2)
9. ECU (4, 1-6-1)
10. Temple (0, 0-8-0)
UConn @ ECU
Temple @ Cincinnati
UCF @ Memphis
USF @ Tulsa
T. Swift sez "Pony Up!"
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