LITTLE ROCK – The first game of the Adrian Blewitt era is in the books, and it was one to remember for the UALR soccer team.
The Trojans came out on fire and defeated Southern 6-1 thanks to a multi-goal effort from freshman Kayla Turner, a goal and an assist from Alyson Rohane, two assists from Ariel Galletti and three other goals. UALR was also excellent on defense, giving up just two shots and not letting the Jaguars maintain possession throughout the contest.
“It’s nice to get a win,” Blewitt said of his first-ever Division I coaching victory. “We’re trying to play good stuff, and we’re just learning our roles still. As we get more into the season, we know we’ve got some really tough games coming up.”
The Trojans’ six goals were their most ever at the Coleman Sports & Recreation complex and their highest total since August 2006 when it scored nine against UAPB.
UAPB will be UALR’s next opponent, as the teams square off in Little Rock on Tuesday night at 7.
On Sunday, the first two goals came off the feet of Turner. Just seven minutes in, Turner was the recipient of a rebound on a shot by Galletti. With Southern’s goalie coming out of her net to make the save on Galletti’s strike, Turner had a wide open net and tucked the ball away to make it 1-0.
Eight minutes later, terrific passing up the left side of the field led to Turner’s second tally. Freshman Mikayla Uyokpeyi played the ball forward to Alyson Rohane, who crossed it perfectly into the box for Turner. All alone, she nudged the ball into the goal for a 2-0 lead.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Turner said. “I’ll remember it forever, my first college game scoring two goals.”
Rohane got a goal of her own in the 30th minute thanks to the second assist of the afternoon by Galletti. Galletti had the ball at the right corner of the penalty area and passed it across the box to Rohane. She took a moment to settle the ball, and with no one in front of her, buried the ball in the back of the net.
Adrianna Queen made it 4-0 just a minute before halftime, ripping a shot from the center of the box after taking a pass and spinning around a defender.
After halftime, the scoring continued as freshman Mathilda Torstensson got on the board after chasing down a bouncing ball back toward Southern’s goalie. Torstensson beat out two Jaguars defenders to get to the ball and took a hard shot past the keeper to make it 5-0.
The Trojans’ final score came off Torstensson’s fellow Swede, Malin Westerberg. Freshman Dakotah Sparrman made the key move on the goal, dribbling around a Southern defender and up the end line toward the goal. With space in front of her, she centered to Westerberg for the putaway in the 77th minute.
“This was a good start to our season,” Turner said. “It shows people to be afraid of us, that we’re actually going to come out this season and change something.”
Southern’s lone goal came with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
In goal for the Trojans, junior Kylie Wilson earned the start and only had to make one save. Freshman Shara Robbins replaced her late in the second half and also faced just one shot. The UALR defense kept Southern at bay for most of the contest, limiting the Jaguars’ opportunities to strike and only conceding one corner kick.
UALR had 30 total shots at the end of the contest and 15 on goal. The Trojans also led 6-1 in corner kicks taken.
UALR was able to use 20 of the 25 players on its roster in the contest, substituting often to give the players a chance to learn their roles in the new system.
“We’ve made sure that we’ve coached and taught everyone our system,” Blewitt said. “This was a game where we could get everyone in the game to practice their roles. We play four games in six days, so we really have to move everyone in and out because we’ve got some tough games coming up.”
The Trojans are back in action against UAPB on Tuesday at 7 p.m.