The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was shut out in its soccer opener Thursday, but second-year coach Erik Solberg left with a positive feeling from his freshman-heavy squad.
"I hate to say that after a loss," he said. "Our program comes to the field every time expecting to win, but given what that team is and where they are in the process, 3-0 on the scoreboard, I think, is fair."
Two long-range goals and another off a rebound filled up the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's score sheet in a 3-0 win on UAPB's Pumphrey Field.
More than four months removed from a spring season, Solberg reloaded his roster with 15 freshmen, six of whom -- goalkeeper Kailey Wehrmann, Cayla Goncalves, Natalie Freeman, Erin Fite, Iyannah Hicks and Brisha Musungu -- started.
"We learned a lot about our team," Solberg said. "The character, the effort, the energy was so good from our team. We started a lot of young kids. We got some leadership from some older kids as well, and that really benefited us throughout the match.
UALR (1-0) out-shot UAPB 31-8 and took 15 shots on goal to UAPB's three. Wehrmann finished with 12 saves.
"We weren't able to test their keeper enough," Solberg said. "That's something we've got to improve on and work on, in the final third getting more chances and finishing our chances. The ones we got, I thought made some mental errors today."
It took the Trojans nearly 25 minutes into the game to break into the scoring column, thanks to a 35-yard shot from Astros Lockas, one of three Icelanders on the team. Dutchwoman Jana Heinen recorded the assist.
The Trojans pressured the Lady Lions heavily to start the second half and added to their lead thanks to a long-range shot from Mariella Stephens in the 55th minute. Baptist Prep graduate Jessie Vaden capitalized on a rebound and netted a goal in the 73rd.
UAPB will host Oral Roberts University at 1 p.m. Sunday.
"We know we have 11 games to get better before SWAC play starts," Solberg said. "I'm very encouraged and feel very optimistic going into Sunday we can come away with the result."