Sam Houston State University head coach Marcia Oliveira has a game plan for her women’s soccer team this season. Part of the plan began this weekend when the girls played back-to-back games against NCAA ranked teams SMU and LSU.
On Thursday, the Kats were defeated 5-0 in a hard-fought battle at home. Less than 24 hours later they were in Louisiana playing the Tigers, taking another defeat 6-0.
In the playoffs last year, SHSU was in a similar situation where they had to face two tough games in a short span and lost the second in overtime. Oliveira is looking ahead to playoffs this year by preparing her team for the same trials that they are planning to face there again.
“I wanted to have the girls play ranked teams within a 24 hour period,” Oliveira said. “It was a test to see how they would hold up mentally. The results of the LSU and SMU games were not the objectives, and the objectives were met.”
Last Sunday Sam Houston State played Prairie View and thoroughly trounced the Panthers 11-0 in a non-conference match. Yoanna Garcia scored four of the Bearkats’ goals. The Kats had 51 shots on goal while Prairie View only had three.
For the first 23 minutes of the game, the Bearkats had some trouble putting the ball in the net, but with four goals in the last 22 minutes of the first half and then another seven in the second half, finishing wasn’t a problem.
The Bearkats looked like they were used to playing teams of much higher caliber, beating the Prairie View girls to the ball on almost every challenge.
“The objectives of the Prairie View game was to practice executing, play as a team, raise the team stats and give everyone a chance to play.” All of coach Oliveira’s objectives were clearly met by the end of the game. Another test of Oliveira’s team was to see if they would be able to hold together over an entire game after being subbed in and out over the course of the match. “I am proud of the girls for being able to be subbed in and out without dropping off,” Oliviera said.
This Friday the Bearkats face UTEP who has defeated UT-Austin this year.
Oliveira plans for her team to make it past playoffs this season. “If we do well in the playoffs and we win, we are likely to cross LSU, SMU, UTEP, UT or Texas A&M again,” Oliveira said. “Now we have played them already and will be better prepared.”
Oliviera has big plans for this season and by the result of Sunday’s game, those high expectations are not unwarranted.