The SHSU women’s soccer team crosses the Texas-Louisiana border for the weekend as it attempts to snap a six game losing streak against Nicholls State and Southeastern Louisiana University.
On Friday, the Bearkats play the Nichols State Lady Colonels in Thibodaux, La. Nicholls State is 2-9-0 on the season and, like Sam Houston, is winless against conference opponents. The Lady Colonels also bear other similarities to the Bearkat team.
Both teams have lost their last six matches and have struggled through most of the season. Nicholls State has experienced offensive woes this season, as has SHSU. While the Bearkats lead the conference in scoring, they have put the ball in the net only once in their past four matches. NSU ranks last in the Southland Conference in goals scored, points and goals per game.
Three of the Lady Colonels are players that Bearkat head coach Marcia Oliveira tried to land on her squad when she was assembling it last year.
Oliveira said she is not offering any advice to her players as to how to approach the match. “We’re just going to go and play the game,” Oliveira said. “I’m telling my players to do their homework, fix the stuff we need to fix and maintain the things we are doing well.”
One of the things the Kats have not done well recently is scoring goals, an aspect of the Kats’ game, which might receive a boost with the probable return of forward Tynice Friday on Sunday. Friday sprained her ankle last week in a match with Louisiana-Monroe last week. Oliveira said she thinks Friday could be ready to play by Sunday’s match with Southeastern Louisiana, but it will likely be a game time decision.
Friday has been the strongest force on offense for the Kats this season, leading the team in points and assists. She is also co-leader in goals scored along with Kim Brown. The ankle sprain has troubled Friday since last week, so much that she was unable to finish practice on Tuesday.
“She started practicing, then she started limping a little bit,” Oliveira said. “Before I knew it, she was in tears.”
Oliveira said Friday’s ankle should be well enough to play on Sunday, but she will not put Friday in the game if she is not ready. “It looks much better,” Oliveira said of Friday’s injury. “I think she might be able to get back by the second game.”
The Kats will most likely need Friday’s ability in that game against Southeastern Louisiana. SELU is the top team in the Southland Conference, standing at 9-1-1 (4-0-0) on the season. The Lions rank second in the SLC in total goals and assists, behind the Bearkats, and feature two of the top three goal scorers in the conference. SE-LA also leads the SLC in shutouts, with a conference-best 0.91 goals against average.
Oliveira said that to compete against the Lions, the Kats must shut down SELU forward Kim McNally. McNally is the third-leading scorer in the SLC this season. Last year, she was named Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and selected to the All-SLC First Team. In 2002, she broke SLC records in goals and points, finished the season ranked seventh in the NCAA in goals scored, and was named SLC Offensive Player of the Week five times. “She has very good ability with the ball,” Oliveira said. “She’s really half the team, so we’re going to have to be very, very careful with her.”
The Bearkats will return home after Sunday’s match for a non-conference game against Grambling on Wednesday at Pritchett Field.