The Sam Houston State University Bearkat soccer team will take on the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament on Nov. 1. The Kats earned a postseason berth after a 2-2 double overtime draw last Sunday against Incarnate Word.
The playoff appearance marks the fourth time in the last five years that the Kats have clinched a spot in the conference tournament. Sam Houston wrapped up the season 7-8-2 overall (4-5-2 in conference play). The team turned it around after missing the playoffs in 2016 when they finished just 2-16-1 during the campaign.
The Bearkats enter the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and will take on No. 2 ranked SFA. SHSU will look to avenge its recent loss to the Ladyjacks. They closed out the regular season last Friday with a tightly contested 2-1 defeat in double overtime.
“I thought the girls performed really well,” head coach Tom Brown said. “We created some good chances in the first half. We gave up one late in the second overtime. We’ll get after it tomorrow with some light training and get ready for the tournament.”
Following their regular season finale, the team had a few days off prior to their playoff match. The Bearkats believe that they can capitalize on their mistakes they had against SFA in their last meeting and are excited to get back on the pitch against their conference rivals.
“After Friday night’s game we had some recovery on Saturday and we were off Sunday,” Brown said. “We spent some time on different aspects with things we can be better at against Stephen F. Austin. We are excited to have another shot to play Wednesday.”
SHSU will be looking to defeat SFA for the first time since they shutout the Ladyjacks 1-0 in 2015. The Bearkats will rely on senior midfielder Beryl Smith and sophomore forward Carlota Suarez Crespo. The two have been key pieces to SHSU’s bounce back season and were named Second Team All-Conference players. The title is awarded to 11 members around the league for their offensive output.
“I think both of them have had a good year,” Brown said. “They are deserving of the all-conference team. They have led us in goals scored, and we are excited and proud of them to receive these accolades.”
SHSU is set to matchup against SFA on Nov 1. in Corpus Christi. The game is set for 11 a.m.