Soccer team shoots for early wins

One week after finding their first victory of the season, the Bearkats soccer team was on the losing end. Houston Baptist University shattered the dreams of the Bearkats in a decisive way.

Cindy Hedden and Arielle Rodriguez each scored to lead Houston Baptist to a 2-0 victory over the Bearkats, marking the third time Sam Houston State has been held scoreless this season.

Following a 6-0 route of Prairie View A&M, led by Shelby Grissett’s hat-trick and Haley Rohlmeier’s two goals off the bench, the Bearkats could not produce enough offense to hang with Houston Baptist.

Forward Shelby Grissett led Sam Houston with three shots, along with two coming from mid-fielder Paige Rodriguez.But the Huskies defense was too much.

The Bearkats look to get back on the winning side of things this weekend in El Paso, where they will face the University of Texas – El Paso on Friday and Arkansas State on Sunday as a part of the University of Texas-El Paso tournament.

“We have a young team this season but we also have great leaders in our experienced players,” said head coach Tom Brown. “We’re excited about this year. We’ve got some good players and they all play ahead of their game.”

Four games into the season, Sam Houston State currently stands at 1-3, in a tie for the sixth best overall record in the Southland Conference.

The Bearkats hope to a have a successful season this year, following a rather disappointing 2008 season. After starting the season with seven wins in their first nine games, the Bearkats lost five of their last seven games, finishing 4-5 in the conference and 9-7 overall.

This year’s team is full of new faces ready to make a splash. Sam Houston State brings in 12 freshmen this season, six of which are starters.

Along with 12 freshmen, the Bearkats also return seven sophomores. The team has a lot to prove and will want to make a name for itself in 2009.

Two freshmen to look out for this year to make a big impact include middle fielder Kirby Zak and forward Shelby Grissett. Zak played a key role in the victory over Prairie View with two assists and looks to be a presence throughout the year.

Grissett is an offensive force with a lot of talent who has showed her skills in the lone win over Prairie View by scoring three goals, marking the fifteenth hat trick in the seven-year history of the Sam Houston State women’s soccer program.

The defense is lead by Jenny Pence, the Bearkats’ team captain and goalkeeper. Pence holds season school records for most shutouts, fewest goals allowed, best goals against average, goalkeeper victories, and consecutive scoreless minutes. Needless to say she will give opposing teams a fit.

According to the preseason coaches’ poll taken back in August, Texas State was the popular choice to win the conference title this year.

The Texas State Bobcats received eight first place votes, giving them 89 points in the poll. Sam Houston State fell to the bottom of the poll, tied with Lamar for seventh with 39 points. But the Kats’ have a chance to prove the voters wrong on October 25, when they head to San Marcos to face off against the Bobcats.

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