HUNTSVILLE – With five matches remaining in Southland Conference play, Sam Houston State returns home this weekend for a pair of pivotal matches, beginning Friday when the program will celebrate Senior Night against Nicholls.
The Bearkats will recognize senior Beryl Smith and Ashley Long prior to the 6:30 p.m. kick. The match will be Free Food Friday with Double Dave’s providing pizza while supplies last. Sunday will be Pink Out, the program’s annual breast cancer awareness match, as the squad will wear commemorative jerseys.
Sam Houston is looking to ride momentum from its last time out. The team posted a 3-1 road win against Northwestern State, snapping a three-match losing streak backed by netters from Smith, Meredith Carlson and Carlota Suarez Crespo.
The win was crucial for the Bearkats, who enter Friday tied with Nicholls for seventh in the league standings with six total points. Central Arkansas, Stephen F. Austin and Abilene Christian are tied for fourth (12 points) while Southeastern Louisiana follows directly behind Sam Houston with five points.
After a strong start to the season offensively, Sam Houston got back to its productive ways on Friday. The three-goal output moved the Bearkats into a tie for third with Abilene Christian at 1.92 goals per match. Individually, Suarez Crespo and Smith rank fourth and seventh in goals with six and five, respectively.
The unit looks to continue the trend against a Nicholls team ranking 10th among 12 league members with 25 goals allowed. Southeastern Louisiana has been a tick better, permitting 1.38 per match (18 total), although the Lions are the league leaders in the net with 84 saves.
The Kats are looking to snap a brief two-game losing streak at the Colonels. Sam Houston is 9-6-1 all-time against Nicholls including an impressive 5-1-1 mark at Pritchett Field. The Kats are 5-9-2 all-time against Southeastern Louisiana with five of the last seven matches between the two decided in overtime.
Head coach Tom Brown on seniors Ashley Long and Beryl Smith…
“Ashley has been a pleasure to have in our program. She has played many different roles for us along the back line and has been a starter and substitute. She is one of the nicest and most caring players I have ever known. She works hard every day and makes the team better. I feel very fortunate that Beryl decided to transfer to Sam Houston and play her last two years here. She has really had a break out season in terms of goals. Her presence on the field and her ability with the ball has really helped our attack this season. She always is seeking a little extra training or time to watch video.”
Head coach Tom Brown on garnering the confidence from a win last time out…
“I feel the team felt like the game on Friday challenged them in several different ways and we were able to find solutions to those problems. We were able to finish three good attacking moves and that has helped our mentality. I think we dealt with the physical play well and were able to change our tactics when we needed to. Training has been good the past couple of days and we hope to continue the positive energy through the weekend.”
Head coach Tom Brown on the importance of the remaining games…
“With three home games left, there is an emphasis to be successful this weekend. Our goal is to get two wins. Both of our opponents this weekend and close to us in the standings, so getting wins are very important.”