Season preview: Soccer heading into new season with high expectations

Sports Reporter

With a young team, Coach Kat Conner has made one task clear early into the 2015 season—get everyone on the same page.

“The last couple days haven’t been so great,” Conner said. “Everybody is playing their own style and it’s a little frustrating. We’re trying to get them to understand that we all have to play one style. If we don’t get it figured out, it could kill us.”

Conner is starting her 17th season as head coach at Texas State with 14 underclassmen compared to the nine veteran players. With growing pains to be expected, she believes finally being able to compete with another school will help.

Following an exhibition match Aug. 16 against IH-35 rival UTSA, the Bobcats will open the regular season Aug. 21 against Houston.

“The atmosphere during practice has had a high intensity the last couple days as the season opener approaches,” said Lynsey Curry, senior forward. “Coming into the season I think we have a really good team and have a lot to show. Once we perfect our style of play together and get the newcomers comfortable in on our culture and everything, we’ll be looking at a positive season.”

Despite having a young team, the Bobcats were named third in the Sun Belt Conference Preseason polls last week.

The return of all-conference players such as Curry and Kristen Champion, senior defender, and a 5-3-1 conference finish in the 2014 season likely played part in the third-place ranking.

The conference champion South Alabama was listed first while Troy was announced second.

“It’s nice for us to actually get the respect of being in the top three,” Conner said. “Now it’s our job to uphold that and make a run for the championship. So while it’s nice to get that respect from everyone, we do have a lot of work to do to get on the same page and get there.”

The 2015 schedule for the Bobcats includes nine home games, beginning with a familiar contest Aug. 28 against McNeese State. As longtime Southland Conference members, Texas State and McNeese State have played a total of 26 matches against one another. The Bobcats own a 17-8-1 all-time record over the Cowgirls.

Before beginning conference play, Texas State has a notable matchup against University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). The Bobcats traveled to El Paso for last year’s season opener and forced a tie UTEP that pushed the 2014 season in the right direction.

Curry said she understands the competition this year will be tough, but the team is just looking forward to getting out there and showing what they can do. Another subject on Conner’s mind heading into this season is the fanbase and alumni.

“I’m just really hoping everyone will show up to show their support,” Conner said. “It will always be needed to have Bobcats in the stands to cheer you on, especially when you have a young team. So I do encourage all Bobcats, SWT alum, Texas State alum and current students to come out because I would love for us to have a great showing.”

Follow Donavan Jackson on Twitter at @djack_02.