Live Stats Bearkat Sports Network YouTube Channel @BearkatsSOC on Twitter

HUNTSVILLE - The Sam Houston State women’s soccer team opens the 2019 campaign with an Interstate 45 matchup against Houston Thursday at Pritchett Field.

The Bearkats, who were picked 10th in the Southland Conference preseason poll, went 3-12-3 last season, losing five games by two goals or less, to finish 11th in the league. Sam Houston State returns 16 letterwinners, including six seniors, and has 11 newcomers in head coach Tom Brown’s 12th season.

Last week, the Kats scored two goals while getting in some quality playing time against a live opponent when the University of the Southwest came to Huntsville for an exhibition match. Junior midfielder Courtney Pawlik and freshman midfielder Kalynn Bickford each found the back of the net in the 2-2 draw.

Sam Houston played a close contest against the Cougars in Houston last season. The Bearkats took an early 1-0 lead, but Houston was able to tie the match with two minutes left in the first half and eventually won 2-1 on a golden goal in overtime.

The Cougars finished last season with a 7-10-2 record under third-year head coach Diego Bocanegra.

Houston returns 23 members of its 2018 squad and has seven newcomers.

Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.