The Houston Dash earned their first win of the 2015 preseason on a windy Sunday afternoon as they defeated the University of Texas Longhorns 2-0 at Houston Sports Park.
Head coach Randy Waldrum fielded a strong starting eleven with several projected starters and key contributors, including the first preseason game minutes for defenders Niki Cross and Stephanie Ochs, who have been recovering from injuries. Cross played the first 58 minutes at center back, while Ochs played the first half at left back.
The Dash controlled the proceedings for the vast majority of the afternoon, but struggled to convert their chances in the first half. Twelve minutes in, on their third successive corner kick, Rachael Axon headed a shot that brought a great diving save from Texas goalkeeper Abby Smith. The rebound fell to Stephanie Roche, but Smith was there again to smother the secondary attempt.
With the strong wind at their backs for the second half, the Dash finally broke through in the 55th minute. Kealia Ohai sped past a group of defenders into the penalty and played across the box to Melissa Henderson, who had a simple finish with her left foot from eight yards out to give the Dash the lead.
Houston continued to push forward against the collegiate side, with Ohai continuing to trouble the Texas defense with her speed. In the 73rd minute, she was once again behind the back line to latch onto a pass from Tiffany McCarty. All alone in the box, Ohai danced around the goalkeeper to give herself an open net for the second goal.
The win was the first for the Dash in 2015 after coming up empty in two attempts against the Dynamo Academy. The team is finalizing plans for a final scrimmage on April 3 or 4 before they open the NWSL season against the Washington Spirit at BBVA Compass Stadium on April 10.
Houston Dash vs. Texas Longhorns
March 29, 2015 — Houston Sports Park, Houston, TX
Houston: Melissa Henderson 1 (Kealia Ohai 1) 55
Houston: Kealia Ohai 1 (Tiffany McCarty 1) 73
Houston Dash: Bianca Henninger (Jordan Day* 46); Ella Masar (Jen LaPonte* 77), Meghan Lisenby*, Niki Cross (Carleigh Williams 58), Stephanie Ochs (Lauren Silver* 46); Rachael Axon (Jordan O'Brien* 66), Jordan Jackson (Cami Previtt* 66), Ashley Nick (Jazmyne Avant* 79); Melissa Henderson (Allie Bailey* 72), Stephanie Roche (Tiffany McCarty 66), Kealia Ohai (Meagan Cushing* 79)
Texas Longhorns: Abby Smith; Aaron Stawser, Isabelle Kerr, Brinkley Field, Emilie Campbell; Lindsey Meyer, Julia Dyche, Morgan Murphy; Jasmine Hart, Chantale Campbell, Kelsey Shimmick
Substitutes: Cara Connatser, Keagan McCoy, Sydney Shutter, Quinn Zulkowski, Chelbi Orrick, Erin Geiger, Jalynn Barron, Mikayla Flores, Katie Gernsbacher, Ali Schmalz, Olivia Brook