HUNTSVILLE – With seven matches in the books, Sam Houston State soccer turns its sights towards the beginning of its second season – Southland Conference play.
The Bearkats open league action on Friday at 6:30 p.m., hosting Central Arkansas in the second of four-straight matches at Pritchett Field. The Free Food Friday match is sponsored by McKenzie's Barbeque with the restaurant serving while supplies last. Sam Houston is 2-0 at home this season and is coming off a 2-1 victory against Louisiana in the final non-conference match.
Sam Houston has won nine of its last 10 against Central Arkansas but fell 4-1 a season ago in Conway, Ark. Current junior Bailey Strong contributed the Kats’ lone goal in the match but the Bears proved to be too much in the teams’ first win against Sam Houston since 2007.
Despite that, the Bearkats are in a much different position than they were a season ago. The squad ranks second in the league in goals per match (2.67) and corners per match (5.33). The top two marks for goals per match (0.67) also belong to the Kats courtesy of Beryl Smith and Carlota Suarez Crespo.
Sam Houston looks to continue its offensive surge against a UCA team that ranks in the league’s top-4 offensively in shots, points, goals and assists. The Bears snapped a two-match losing streak last time out, defeating Oral Roberts, 3-2 on the road.
QUOTEABLES: Head coach Tom Brown on the non-conference slate and how it has prepared the team…
“Our non-conference schedule provided us teams at different levels and teams that played different tactics that we had to adjust to. I think that it helped us get a look at all of our players so we might know what they can give us going into conference play.”
Head coach Tom Brown on having the first three league matches at Pritchett…
“We really want to get off to a good start with these home games. We know that it is very tough to play on the road in the Southland Conference. We hope these three games will set a positive tone for the season.”
Head coach Tom Brown on the challenges UCA presents…
“UCA had a great season last year and are picked to do very well again. We know that we will have to be at our best in this game.”