Bobcats beginning conference play on five-game winning streak

Sports Reporter

The Texas State soccer team, led offensively by Lauren Prater, junior forward, will enter Friday’s match against the Little Rock Trojans with a five-game winning streak.

With Sara Small, Trojans senior goalkeeper, leading the defense, Little Rock finished its non-conference schedule with a 0-0 tie against the University of Texas.

Prater was awarded the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week after scoring three goals against Lamar.

Small, meanwhile, received the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week as a result of her shutout. With both teams in good form, it should provide for a compelling conference opener.

Assistant Coach Link Scoggins said he knows the team is confident but it’s a matter of creating chances.

“Just by looking at the stats from New Mexico State—it is the amount of chances that we are creating,” Scoggins said. “Granted, we only came away with two of those chances, but I think the fact that we are creating those chances (means) we will eventually start to put more and more of those away—and the girls have proved that.”

The Bobcats took 33 shots against New Mexico State and will likely continue that same type of pressure against Little Rock. Scoggins said the connection between the midfielders and forwards has been part of the team’s success.

“What that means to us is that our midfielders are making those runs into the forward areas in order to create those chances and take those chances,” Scoggins said.

Prater will likely be the beneficiary to a couple of those chances Friday night. Scoggins joked that Prater has been “eating her Wheaties” when talking about her good form.

“Must be something she is eating,” Scoggins said. “When she is striking a ball, she is very balanced. She is putting what we call texture on the ball.”

Scoggins said he knows the importance of keeping the team level and focused on the next opponent. He said that Little Rock has been an improved side each time the Bobcats have faced the Trojans.

“Right now we have Arkansas-Little Rock, who is going to be very tough,” Scoggins said. “They have been an improved team ever since we have entered the Sun Belt so we have to make sure we take care of business Friday.”

The Bobcats and Trojans have had only two previous meetings, with Texas State winning both times.

Little Rock was picked to finish eighth in the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll.

The team has already forced overtime with Ole Miss and Texas. Scoggins realizes what’s at stake—a chance at the NCAA tournament—and is just trying to keep the team focused on the task at hand.

“Right now we just need to look at it by a game-by-game scenario,” Scoggins said. 

Follow Garrett Caywood on Twitter @polo__garre.