Prater finding her 'shooting boots' this year

Special to the Star
Lauren Prater, junior forward, fights for the ball in the Bobcats' 2-1 loss to UTEP Sunday afternoon.

Lauren Prater, junior forward, is growing into what Coach Kat Conner calls “shooting boots.”

Prater’s role has slowly transitioned coming into her third season with the Texas State soccer team.

Coach Conner said Prater is growing as a striker and is playing a similar style to Tori Hale, former Texas State soccer player, who holds the all-time program record in assists (19).

Putting the ball in the back of the net is the first priority for a striker so, naturally, Prater is looking to transition into more of a goal-scoring threat this season. Prater began the season with a goal in Texas State’s 2-0 win over Houston.

Conner has mentioned the need for a reserve player with the ability to score goals. Prater is vying for that role as a substitute who can put pressure on the opposing backline.

Conner mentioned Prater’s development, but not in terms of goal scoring. She was referring to Prater’s growth as a team leader.

“That’s something I see with Lauren, she has the desire to lead and be more vocal,” Conner said. “She is growing into her shooting boots.”

Conner said Prater benefits from working with Lynsey Curry, senior forward, and Hale in the previous year.

With that being said, it is no surprise that Curry and Prater linked up for the first goal of the season.

“Lynsey Curry is a role model to me,” Prater said. “She can read the game very well, so every time I am not doing something well enough then I will go ask her what it is I should do better. She is really good at giving through balls and that is how I was able to score in Houston.”

Over her first two years, Prater only scored twice. Yet Prater said she is confident and knows what the team needs to accomplish.

“The past two years it has been a little bit of a letdown that I haven’t been able to come in and score as much as I’ve wanted to,” Prater said. “But this year I’ve started out strong. I think my confidence is up and I look forward to the next game and hopefully getting more goals out of everyone.”

The junior entered as a substitute and notched 31 minutes against Houston. Prater hopes to continue scoring and to be successful in whatever role she plays.

“My personal goal is to at least get one goal every game,” Prater said. “Our team goal is to win the championship and hopefully go onto the NCAA championship because we’ve been pushing for that these past few years that I’ve been here and I know we’ll get it this year.”

Follow Garrett Caywood on Twitter at @polo__garre.