It was a chilly day at Pritchett Field as the Sam Houston State Bearkats fell to the Incarnate Word Cardinals 4-1 for their fourth consecutive loss.
“I’m disappointed. I feel like we just did not come out and compete quite as hard as they did,” head coach Tom Brown said. “We talked about trying to really set the tone here on Senior Night and I just thought that we got an unlucky bounce right at the beginning. It was just a frustrating night all the way around.”
Like the weather, the Bearkat attack was also cold. The team couldn’t get anything going as they registered a total of eight shots, with six of them being on target, and one goal. Incarnate Word on the other hand was in full motion. The Cardinals tallied a total of 14 shots, with six on target, and four goals.
“It was kind of two things. Obviously, we were playing with two front runners and we were just having trouble getting them combined and getting themselves in,” Brown said. “In the second half, we went to the three and I thought we created some good chances wide, but we couldn’t quite get them finished.”
The team from San Antonio got to work early in the first half as sophomore forward Emani Stewart netted the first goal for the Cardinals in the third minute. Senior forward Jordan Jarzombek tried to answer back for the Kats with a nice look from the top of the box in the sixth minute, but her shot sailed just wide right.
Incarnate Word put their second goal in the back of the net in the 24 minute off a corner kick from sophomore Sam Bately to put the Cardinals up 2-0 over the Kats going into the half. UIW’s defense put constant pressure on whoever was in possession of the ball for SHSU.
“I just think they [Incarnate Word] all worked hard. Anytime one of our players got on the ball they had a player on us straight away,” Brown said. “It makes it difficult on you because your head goes down and obviously you’re feeling the pressure, but your head goes down because you can’t find the players you want to get connected to.”
In the second half, the Bearkats picked up their pressure on the attacking end after the team fell behind 3-0 in the 52 minute off of a Cardinal corner kick goal from sophomore midfielder Shelbie Miller. SHSU struggled defending the corner set piece as they allowed two goals off of corner kicks and conceded a total of nine corners.
Trailing by three points, the Bearkats were finally able to crack the scoreboard in the 89 minute when sophomore defender Whitney Woodward scored her first goal of the season on a header off a corner kick inside the six-yard mark. Sophomore midfielder Meredith Carlson was on the assisting end.
“I just knew that with corner kicks, and with any set pieces, you can really capitalize on those so when the ball came in I saw that I was free from my man and I just attacked the ball,” Woodward said. “That’s all you have to do on those plays.”
Although the Kats put one on the board late in the game, the Kats came up short and are no longer in contention to clinch a spot in the Southland Conference tournament. SHSU (2-15-1, 2-7-1 SLC) will have a quick turnaround, as they will hit the pitch of Pritchett Field again on Sunday. The Bearkats will take on a tough Abilene Christian (7-8-2, 6-2-1 SLC) team at 1 p.m.
“It’ll be tough. It’ll definitely be a measure of character because the players that played a ton of minutes tonight, they cannot be recovered in time,” Brown said. “I mean Sunday for everybody is tough. They know that they aren’t going to get into the conference tournament now, so it’ll really be a character check to see how they come out and how they compete.”