Allred leads Mustangs to defeat Rice 2-0

The 21st iteration of the home state rivalry between SMU and Rice utilized Westcott Field as its venue on Thursday night, a match that saw the Mustangs win a clinical 2-0 battle. In what was the fourth game of a five game homestand, SMU went mostly unchallenged en route its 14th victory in the series.

The scoring was authored by a lone striker, junior Hannah Allred. The forward from Fort Worth gave the Mustangs an early 1-0 advantage 10 minutes into the contest with a point blank goal inside the box. Off of a free kick served by freshman Wayny-Natasha Balata, the ball bounced around in the box multiple times before Allred found the back of the net.

With 46 seconds into the second half, Allred scored again with a strike into the lower left corner of the goal. Playing with numbers off a counter attack, Celiana Torres played a long ball to a streaking Allred who touched and fired. The Mustangs caught Owl goalkeeper Bella Killgore a couple of yards off her line, allowing for their cleanest look at the goal all night. The second score gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead with 44 minutes remaining. Allred remained busy for the offense the entire contest, registering a game-high nine shots, three on goal, in 57 minutes of play.

“If you noticed Hannah (Allred) throughout her career, she likes to shoot. And she is one of those players that just wants to score a goal,” Chris Petrucelli, SMU head coach, said. “Every time she gets the ball she is thinking how can I score a goal. That leads to taking a lot of shots and certainly her scoring a lot of goals.”

Another storyline of the night came by the third shutout of the year for the SMU defense, who was only challenged seriously once in the fourth minute of the match. Rice’s leading goal scorer, senior Haley Kostyshyn, missed a shot inside the box in what would be the Owl’s only shot on goal until the 85th minute. The Mustangs outshot the Owls 23-6 in a game where they possessed the ball for over 70 percent of the time.

“I thought overall it was pretty good, pretty complete. We were pretty good defensively and we kept the ball really well. Now, they dropped off and let us have it some but we broke them down a couple of times,” Petrucelli said. “We scored good goals and created good chances.”

It was the tale of two halves stylistically for the Mustang offense. In the first half, the Owl defense was allowing nothing in the middle of the field, forcing the offense to be generated on the outside. Brigitta Pullins and Jessica Cooley made repeated serves from the left and right flanks inside the box that resulted in some chances at the goal. In the second half, Rice was allowing deep runs into the offensive third of the field. Courtney Sebazco and Torres were in attack mode, sensing a fatiguing defense.

“I thought those guys were great. I thought went Katia (Novi) came on, her as well. They move the ball so well from the center of the midfield, and they moved it quickly. They showed a lot of skill. They showed athleticism and will. They were good today,” Petrucelli said.

Possibly the only part of the night that was out of the ordinary for SMU was the lack of offense from the nation’s ninth best scorer, Allie Thornton. The senior, starting in her 60th game as a Mustang, did not record a shot in a game where she received all the attention from the Rice defense. Rice junior defender Trinity King repeatedly pushed the striker off the ball, not allowing a look all night.

“I didn’t even realize that was the case (that she didn’t take a shot). She was working her butt off out there and she contributed a lot the game. She would be the first one to say as long as we won the game. She played quite well tonight, she didn’t score, but she played quite well,” Petrucelli said.

The Mustangs will complete the homestand this Sunday against Long Beach State at 1 p.m. Tonight’s win moves SMU to 5-1 on the year and will inch them closer to reentering the top 25 by the end of the week.