MOBILE, Ala. – University of South Alabama senior forward Brandi Smith (Red Oak, Texas) picked up a brace Friday night at The Cage to lift the Jags to a 2-0 shutout of Sun Belt Conference rival Arkansas State.
“Arkansas State is a good team,” said USA head coach Mike Varga. “They put a lot of pressure on us and we struggled in the first half to break their pressure. We made some subtle changes at halftime, and the changes accounted for the goals that we scored. Brandi had some good finishes and we had some good chances to put it away early in the second half. It iced the game for us.”
With the win, South Alabama remains unbeaten at home and advances to 10-3-2 and 3-2-1 in conference play while the Red Wolves fall to 5-1-2 overall and 3-4 in the SBC.
After a scoreless first half, Smith was able to net two goals within minutes of each other to secure a victory for USA.
“We changed their mentality in the second half,” Varga said. “We were going to try to get them in and it worked. Brandi scored and Landi (Wilson) had a couple close chances. Lindsey (Snavely), up front, was doing a good job of getting the ball, turning and playing. We cleaned up our play in the second half and got the result today.”
Smith found a pass from sophomore Clarissa Hernandez (Pensacola, Fla.) in the 53rd minute of play and knocked it off the far post and into the back of the net for her fifth game-winning goal of the season.
In the 56th minute, senior Landi Wilson’s (Cincinnati, Ohio) shot was successfully parried by Arkansas State goalkeeper Megan Stoltzfus, but it was deflected to Brandi Smith who put it home for her 10th goal of the season.
The Jaguar defense was able to hold the Red Wolves to 11 shots on the night while the offense put up 12.
USA goalkeeper sophomore Melissa Drish (Conyers, Ga.) made six saves to preserve her sixth shutout of the season.
USA will return to action Sunday when they host UALR at 1 p.m. on senior day at The Cage.
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).