After 64 minutes of a defensive juggernaut, senior forward Laura Sadler scored the first goal of the 2012 Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks season to help propel SFA to a 2-0 victory over the University of Houston in the season opener Friday night at the SFA Soccer Field.
"It was a bit of a struggle early on for us tonight but I'm very proud of the way the girls responded in the second half," SFA head coach Tony Amato said. "That was a terrific way to start the season by beating a quality opponent in the season opener in the fashion we did."
Sadler, a first-team all-conference selection from last season, scored the goal in the 65th minute off an assist from sophomore Chelsea Raymond by beating her defender towards the upper right-hand edge of the box before delivering the game-winner back across the body of Houston goalkeeper Cami Koski into the upper left-hand corner of the net.
"That goal was just Sadler being Sadler," Amato said. "She's one of our best playmakers and she just made a great drive around her defender before finishing strong."
Just nine minutes later, freshman midfielder Rachel Owens delivered the play of the night by scoring her first collegiate goal on a spectacular booming shot from over 30 yards away past the outstretched arms of Koski.
The Ladyjacks improved to 4-4 all-time against the Cougars and 9-8-1 in season openers.
SFA (1-0) outshot Houston 17-5 and 7-3 shots on goal. Ladyjacks goalkeeper Lacey Lee recorded her first win of the season by stopping three shots. SFA also won the corner kick battle 7-0.
The Ladyjacks will next travel to Jackson State on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match.