Soccer to host rival in home opener Friday night

Sports Reporter

Longtime rival McNeese State will be visiting San Marcos Friday evening for the 12th time in school history.

Although the Texas State soccer team owns the series advantage against McNeese (17-8-1 overall), Coach Kat Conner knows this matchup won’t be an easy task for her team.

“I am excited for the season opener and it’s going to be a great game,” Conner said. “Despite what people may think of McNeese State, they are a very well-coached team and they have always given us great competition. I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere and hope to see everyone out here to support us.”

McNeese State began this season with a similar challenge facing Texas State: inexperience.

The Cowgirls added seven new faces to their roster during the offseason and have had to rely on All-Conference players such as Savannah LaRicci, Cowgirls junior forward, to step up into a leadership role.

LaRicci created the majority of the offensive production for McNeese last season after leading the team in every offensive category including points (15), goals (6), assists (3) and shots on goal (28).

Her performance, along with the Cowgirls’ late-season run, earned them a sixth and seventh spot in the Southland Conference Preseason Poll.

 

McNeese won four of its final five games last season before an early conference tournament exit. It wasn’t the ideal ending they were hoping for. The team wanted more.

“It was definitely an eye-opener when we were ousted from the tournament last season," said Sarah Bricker, Cowgirls senior defender. "Nicholls' player took a really good shot that cut us short, but I do believe that getting there just showed how much work that we put in last season.”

Heading into the matchup, both Texas State and McNeese have started the season off in similar fashion with victories.

The Bobcats are coming off a 2-0 win over Houston with a goal from player Lynsey Curry, senior forward, and Lauren Prater, junior forward.

When asked about the defense, Kristen Champion, senior defender, said everyone is becoming accustomed to Conner’s system.

“As one of the older players on the team,” Champion said. “It’s our job to answer any questions and be open to the freshmen when they have any questions. The sooner we get comfortable with one another, the better position we’ll be in for the season.”

Conner would agree the season has been a process, but added that she is proud of how the team has been communicating with each other when correcting mistakes during the first two games.

The McNeese State contest could turn out to be the biggest indication of how this season could pan out.

“Our main goal is to get a championship,” Champion said. “McNeese is going to be a tough game because they have always given us great competition. At the same time, I feel like we’re ready to show everyone, and the rest of the conference in particular, that we’re ready to take it.”

Follow Donavan Jackson on Twitter at @djack_02.