WOMEN’S SOCCER: Searching for identity

The Sam Houston State soccer team lost two matches this weekend against Louisiana-Monroe and Northwestern State, bringing its record to 0-5-0 in conference play, and 3-9-0 on the season.

In Friday’s match with Louisiana-Monroe, the Bearkats stayed within reach of victory for most of the game. The Kats held on to a 1-0 lead for the majority of the first half, but eventually lost by a final score of 4-1.

“We played quality ball for the first half,” said head coach Marcia Oliveira. “(In the second half), we made a few mistakes here and there, and they capitalized on that. So the 4-1 score doesn’t give the real tale of how the game went.”

On Sunday, the Kats hosted defending Southland Conference Tournament champion Northwestern State. Heather Penico of the Lady Demons scored a goal two minutes into the match. After that goal, the game was a stalemate until the 88th minute, when Mya Walsh added another goal for Northwestern State.

“2-0 against (Northwestern State) is almost a win for us,” Oliveira said. “But, at the same time, we did not play as well as we did against Louisiana-Monroe. If we lessen our mistakes, the next game can be a much better story.”

The Bearkats were shut out Sunday for the third time in five conference matches. The lack of offensive production by the Bearkats is mainly due to injuries sustained by three of the team’s five forwards, according to Oliveira. Tynice Friday,

Stacy Smith and Katie Blaylock are all out with various injuries. Smith has a cast on her ankle. Blaylock has tendonitis and recently underwent an MRI and sprained her ankle in the match against Louisiana-Monroe.

“We have been trying to get better on offense, but our number of shots has gone very low,” Oliveira said. “Not having the people to sub in and get fresh blood out there, everything becomes a little bit more difficult. I have Kim Brown and Adrienne Monroe in 90 minutes of the game, and that’s tough.” Oliveira said that despite opening conference play with five straight losses, the Kats still have a chance to make the conference tournament, in which the top six Southland teams compete at the end of the season. SHSU is currently in seventh place in the SLC.

“We still have seven games to go in the conference,” Oliveira said. “There’s still plenty of time for us to turn things around a little bit, get a few wins and try to make it to the tournament.”

Oliveira said that if the Kats meet their objectives, the tournament will be within their grasp. “Our main goal is basically to perform well and perform to win,” Oliveira said. “We have performed well, but we have not been able to capitalize that into a win. So we need to go to the next step.”

The Bearkats will try to reach that next step as they travel to Thibodaux, La. to take on SLC bottom-feeding Nicholls State on Friday.

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