Soccer looks to gain momentum against Prairie View A&M, Oklahoma

Sports Reporter

The Texas State soccer team takes on Prairie View A&M, a team the Bobcats defeated in all six of their previous meetings, for the first home game of the 2013 season.

“Any team we can shutout continuously is a good thing,” said senior goalkeeper Natalie Gardini. “As a goalkeeper, my goal is to shutout a team, so it’s always a good thing.”

Prairie View A&M comes to San Marcos winless on the season after losing to Lamar in a nail-biter Aug. 23 and Incarnate Word Aug. 25. As both teams go into Friday’s game after tough losses, Texas State is looking to keep their confidence at a high level.

“The (home opener) is always a fun game for us,” Gardini said. “When we score a lot its fun and gets the fans involved and brings people out to show them that soccer’s fun.”

In the match up against the Panthers Aug. 30 expect to see the ball in the back of the net often, as Texas State outscored Prairie View 35-0 in its previous six contests. With that type of advantage expect the team to come out attacking.

“I think having a home opener and being on our field will help the players be extremely ready,” said Coach Kat Conner. “Being in front of their fans and our home field will get them going emotionally and physically.”
Conner and company look to bounce back from a tough loss. The Bobcats are still trying to instill the mentality to come out even stronger after tough losses.

“When you’re that dominant against certain teams sometimes you can come out flat,” Conner said. “Hopefully we won’t, but it being a home opener, I know the players will be ready.”

After their home opener, the Bobcats head to Norman for an afternoon game against the Oklahoma Sooners. Texas State is familiar with playing Big 12 teams such as Baylor, Texas Tech and University of Texas and will look to use that experience against Oklahoma.

“We know what Big 12 soccer is,” Conner said. “That’s why we got to play those games. We’re always looking to go to the postseason. We know if we get to the postseason, we’re going to have to play a top team like this. We expect them to be very physical and athletic and expect them to be somewhat direct and use their athleticism.”

The Bobcats are a young team and will use the veterans to calm nerves when they head to Oklahoma.

“I can connect with the freshmen a little more because I’ve been in their shoes before,” said sophomore defender Kristen Champion. “I’ve been nervous. I’ve understood everything. I’ve talked to them a lot, and I tell them to shake off the nerves after the first couple of hits.”

Leadership and experience will be key, and the Bobcats will look to use them to their advantage. The team has 11 players returning to the squad that started in a game last year and hope to use the combined effort to lead them to a Sun Belt championship.

“(Freshmen) take criticism really well,” Champion said. “They trust us to teach them, and our defense is looking pretty good. We are hopeful it can stay that way the whole season.”