Kats hit the road for the first time against Texas Southern

The Sam Houston soccer team hits the road for the first time on Friday to take on Texas Southern University in Houston in a rematch of last month’s lopsided contest. The Bearkats annihilated the Tigers 17-0 when they last played at the end of August.Head coach Marcia Oliveira said her players have not expressed any concerns about playing on the road for the first time. “I think they’re going to be alright,” Oliveira said. “It’s not going to be a tiring trip.”Oliveira said that while she expects a similar match this time around, she is not looking too far into the future. “I think TSU probably has gotten a little bit more experience with the few games they’ve had,” Oliveira said. “I do not expect any surprises, but the game is not over until it is over.”Oliveira said that although she is not looking past TSU, her players might overlook the Tigers. Oliveira does not want that to happen, as it might cause the Bearkats to lose their focus like they did against UTEP. “I do believe that in the backs of their minds, they know it’s going to be an easy game, but we are working on pretty much keeping the same level of play the whole game,” Oliveira said.Maintaining their focus the entire game will be a priority for the Bearkats. Oliveira has been displeased by the apparent lack of focus and intensity by her team the past two weeks. “The last two games we have been pretty much out of focus, and it has been very difficult for us to meet our objectives,” Oliveira said.Oliveira thinks that the Tigers, after being embarrassed in the last match, will offer a little more resistance on Friday. “They might try to prove they don’t need to be beat up like that,” she said. “For the fact they will be at home, and for the fact they were in a pretty rough game when they played us before, I think they’re going to step up and try to do better.”After the match with TSU, the Bearkats will return to Huntsville to face the Alabama Crimson Tide. The game was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but was moved to 7 p.m. Saturday night.”Alabama’s going to be very difficult,” Oliveira said. “They’ve had their program going on now for about 10 years with the same coach.” Alabama’s head coach is Don Staley. Staley recently notched his 200th career victory, making him the 19th coach in the history of NCAA women’s soccer to reach that milestone.Oliveira said she expects Alabama to be a technically and tactically sound team. She also expects a fast-paced match with quick ball movement and an abundance of fast breaks.”They’re going to be a very tough team that’s going to bring to us a lot of challenges,” Oliveira said. “I hope we can learn from those challenges, and try to have a good game.”Oliveira said the Bearkats are well prepared for the match with Alabama, as they have gained valuable experience through playing a few upper-echelon teams like SMU and Oklahoma State.”We’re going to try to work on really lessening our mistakes, and staying focused,” Oliveira said. “If we can do that, it’s going to be favorable to us and anything can happen.”This weekend’s matches are the last two before the Bearkats begin conference play against Texas State University-San Marcos (formerly SWT) next Wednesday.

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