The SHSU women’s soccer team closes out its inaugural season tomorrow night against Texas State-San Marcos at Pritchett Field. The game is the Lady Kats’ last chance to obtain their first conference win and break a four-game losing streak.
SHSU (4-15-0, 0-11-0 SLC) faces an opponent ranked fourth in the conference in Texas State (7-9-2, 7-4-0 SLC). The Bobcats are coming off two consecutive wins, one of them over the second-ranked SFA Lady Jacks.
The last time these two teams met marked the Kats’ first experience with conference play. The result was a lopsided 8-1 Bobcat victory. SHSU head coach Marcia Oliveira attributed her team’s poor performance in that game to her players’ anxiety in dealing with a new experience.
Since that match in late September, things have changed, according to Oliveira. She said her team is much more confident, and will be a bit more competitive than it was a month ago. “I’ll say one thing,” Oliveira said. “It is not going to be the same game. It’s not going to be like it was in the first game. I believe we are going to step up on the field, knowing what we’re doing, and try to pursue every opportunity to win.”
Given the fact that the Bobcats have secured a spot in the conference tournament, and that they beat SHSU soundly last month, it would seem they might not take this match very seriously. Oliveira said she does not believe that is the case, however. “I think they’re going to come strong because they want to get some points here, and they want to make sure they stay standing where they are right now,” Oliveira said. “I think they will be very nave if they come in just thinking about how the last game was.”
Oliveira said her players feel confident in the way they have played recently in closely fought matches with some of the better teams in the Southland Conference. The fact that they remain without an SLC victory in their final game should also give them a little more drive against Texas State.
“I believe it can go either way,” Oliveira said. “Texas State is not as strong as last year, but they are not weak, either. Hopefully, it will go our way. We are so deserving of at least one conference win, because that can pretty much highlight how hard (the players) have been working. They have worked very hard, they have been competitive, and it’s so close. Every time it’s so close.”
Despite seeing her team eliminated from tournament contention, Oliveira said she is pleased with her team’s performance. She said she has liked what she has seen recently, and believes it is only a matter of time before the players put it all together and learn how to win consistently. “Our overall record and conference record does not show much about us,” she said. “We can not forget that we are a first-year team, and the way we have presented ourselves, and the way we have been learning from one game to the next, has been fantastic.”