Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jenny's Journal: It feels great to beat SFA

Battle of the Piney Woods weekend is always big for us. I’ll start out by saying this: I really don’t like SFA. I guess it started because SFA is the traditional rival of Sam Houston, but I’m not really sure. I think for me it happened slowly over four years, simply because we never beat them. In my entire four years here, there were two teams I had never beaten: Texas State and SFA. (P.S.- I really don’t like Texas State either.) SFA was also ahead of us in the standings, and a win would guarantee a spot in the conference tournament.
So we came into this past weekend pretty fired up about the game against SFA. Last year, we went to their place and got HAMMERED 6-0. It was really embarrassing. I think I’ve blocked that game from my memory actually! All week in training before the game, we were training very specifically for SFA. We knew they were good, and that they had three very good players up top. We worked on absorbing pressure, and getting off to quick counter attacks. I thought it was a really good week of training, and our field players were getting the defense and the system down really well. By Friday, I felt pretty optimistic about the game. That 6-0 defeat only a year ago was in the back of my mind though.
Turns out, I had nothing to worry about! We came out ready to play! We definitely played the best full 90 minutes of the season against SFA. We defended as a team, we went in hard on tackles, and we really executed our game plan well! We got a great goal from Natalie Johnson to start things off in the first half and I think that goal made SFA freak out a little bit. They aren’t used to getting scored on! In the second half, we came out firing again, and went up 2-0 on an AMAZING goal by Emily Edenstrom by about 30 yards out. I think it’s those shiny new shoes she’s got! After getting the lead, everybody worked hard on defense to keep SFA off the scoreboard. After pressing us hard really late, they ended up getting a good goal off of a corner kick to go down 2-1 with 45 seconds left. We held on though, and finally BEAT THEM! It felt so good to finally get a win in that rivalry game!
Saturday, we had a much needed day off, and Sunday we were back on the field to do a fitness practice. I seriously got dizzy from all of the shuttle turns we were doing! Or maybe I’m just out of shape? J  It felt good to get that fitness in, but it felt even better knowing that we were getting a leg up on the other teams in the conference because they had to play that day.
This weekend, we are at home again! Tomorrow (Friday) we will play UTSA, the team that we knocked out of the tournament last year. They’re definitely going to play to win! It’s also senior night, which is really bittersweet. There is free food too, so everyone come out, get a free burger, and watch a good soccer game!! We really need your support! Sunday, we play host to Texas State. Texas State is the other team I’ve never beat, so I’m excited about that game too! If we win both of our games this weekend, we have a chance to be conference champions. We have never been in this position before, and I’m excited to play these top teams and see exactly how good we can match up. So please, please, PLEASE come out to the games and cheer us on! We could really use your help!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Senior night will be Friday at Pritchett

I want to invite everyone out to our game on Friday night at 7:00 PM. We will be celebrating Senior Night at our game against UT-San Antonio. Goalkeepers Jenny Pence and Kelley Sikinger, defender Nikki Watkins, and midfielders Alex Clifton and Adriana Vasquez will be honored before the game. This is the most successful senior class we have ever had and they will be making their final home appearances this weekend.

The team is in third place and is only one point behind the two co-leaders. Two home wins this weekend will give the team a chance to win the regular season championship. Please come out and help cheer the team on. The team is 7-2 in the last half of the season and 6-1 at home overall. We need your help to complete a successful season!

The team has already qualified for the Southland Conference Tournament to be held in San Marcos, November 4-7. If you can't see us in person, you can catch our results on or on our SHSU Soccer Facebook page.

Go BearKats!

-- Tom Brown
Head Women's Soccer Coach

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jenny's Journal: Eventful trip to Louisiana

This weekend was VERY eventful, so this post might be a little lengthy. Sorry guys.

This weekend, we traveled to good old Louisiana for conference games against Southeastern Louisiana University, and Nicholls State University. We left Huntsville REALLY early again, and went straight to the bustling town of Hammond, LA where we had a short practice to get our legs moving and to get a feel for the field we were going to be playing on the next day. After our practice, we went to the hotel, where we found out that *GASP* there was no MTV! So no Jersey Shore watching party Thursday night. Bummer.

Friday, we got up for study hall that was scheduled for 10 in the morning. Me and Kelsi Brown, my roommate, decided that sleep was much more important than breakfast, and woke up at exactly 9:50 AM. It was glorious. Our game was at 3:30 because SLU doesn’t have lights on their field, so we had lunch, and pretty soon after that left the hotel for the game. Keep in mind that our hotel was about an hour from the field, since it was in the middle of the two schools. This will be important later.

We get to SLU and finished watching Never Back Down, a fighting movie about a guy (and his six pack) that never backs down. Go figure. We finished the movie, and got off the bus to go into our locker room. As we are putting our stuff down and getting settled, a realization dawns on us, and our coaches. We forgot the jerseys. Yep. The whole bag of jerseys was back in New Orleans. At this point, it is two hours before game time. If you do the math, you will see what we saw: WE. ARE. SCREWED. We were thinking that we were going to have to warm up in our tennis shoes or something. It was bad. But, luckily, Nikki’s parents were staying in the same hotel we were, and they hadn’t left yet! Coach called the hotel and arranged for Nikki’s parents to pick up the bag of jerseys, which they then drove the entire way to the game. Seriously, Mr. and Mrs. Watkins, Y’ALL ARE AWESOME.

Our jerseys arrived a little less than an hour before game time, so we quickly changed and got onto the field. We were only behind by about 10 or 15 minutes, so it worked out as well as expected! I think coach thought that the jersey fiasco would be a bad distraction for us, but we came out hard in the first 5 minutes of that game. We had them on their heels, but just couldn’t capitalize on anything. In the second half, they scored off of a corner, which actually may have not gone in. Lindsey Posner cleared the ball off of the line, but the ref on the sideline called it a goal. He wasn’t in position to make the call, because in order to see the ball completely go over the endline, you actually have to be on the endline. Crazy concept, right? Anyways, we lost 1-0. I was bummed about it, but we played pretty well and had a lot to build off of.

Saturday, we had a day off from practice! We had study hall from 10 to 12, and then got lunch delivered. After that, we got on the bus to head down to the French Quarter! We had about three hours to walk around, and we all had a lot of fun. I thought the different artwork was really cool, and I also liked to look at all of the different masks! That night, we ate at Hard Rock Café, and then headed home.

Sunday, we got up bright and early to go to IHOP for breakfast. After that, we drove to Thibodeaux for our match against Nicholls. It was a crazy game, with three goals being scored in the first 10 minutes. We scored first, but they responded only 17 seconds later right off of the kickoff. The one they scored was soft, so I wasn’t too happy about it. Amanda Biega scored a great, sliding goal to put us up 2-1 though. After halftime, we came out strong and had a great half. We scored three unanswered goals to win 5-1! Five different people scored, which is a great thing. Teams can’t shut us down by shutting down one person, because we have many different people who are really good and are scoring threats.

I have to give a shoutout to my backline after this weekend. Gayle Ziegler played great this weekend, especially since on Friday, she seemed to be a fan favorite for the SLU supporters (not in a good way) and on Sunday, she seemed to have a target on her back for Nicholls’ dirtiest players. On Friday, Carly Rheman saved everyone’s butts more than once by making great sliding tackles at exactly the right times. Hillary Ackerman did a great job covering for other players and connecting her passes, which is what we have been working on. And Nikki Watkins had great timing, and she is consistently one of the hardest tacklers on the team. They all did great this weekend. After the game, Coach treated us to Baskin Robbins on the way home!! Mmmm, chocolate peanut butter shake. Way better than dinner.

We have one game this weekend, against SFA on Friday night at home!! So everyone, be at Pritchett at 7 pm for the soccer version of the Battle of the Piney Woods! We need everyone’s support, this weekend more than ever!

-- Jenny Pence
SHSU Keeper

Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Play of the Week Candidate

If you were at Johnson Coliseum for the Bearkat volleyball team's win against SFA, you know how exciting of a match that was. Now the winning point from that match is up for a national award.

The American Volleyball Coaches Associaiton has selected the match-winning point from the Kats' five-game win over SFA as one of the five finalists for the National Play of the Week. The best part is, the fans will be the ones who decide the winner.

Voting will be open until Tuesday at 10 a.m. for fans to go on the AVCA website and vote for the play they think is the best of the week. The winner will be announced on Wednesday.

At the end of the season, the weekly winners will compete for the AVCA Play of the Year.

So get online and vote for the Bearkats. Let your friends know as well.

The Kats are play No. 5 on the list.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jenny's Journal: Two big home wins

Hello Kat fans! Sorry this post is so late, school has been a little crazy this week. I have good news, though, so I think it is worth the wait! This weekend was our second weekend of conference play, and we hosted McNeese and Lamar at home. We had a good week of training leading up to these games, with some focus on the play of our back line, and lots of finishing, as usual. We were a little embarrassed after our loss to Northwestern, so we were pumped up to play this weekend, especially since we were at home!

We played McNeese on Friday night. They came into the game with one tie and one win, so they were ahead of us in the conference standings. We were moving the ball around really well, and got our first goal off of a GREAT combination between Amanda Biega, Emily Edenstrom, and Kirby Zak. Our goal came right before half time too, so that was really important! Our second goal came from Tricia Mallory, who put a shot in the far side netting. After building a 2 goal lead, our defense really stepped it up. We played some really good team defense in the second half, and our back line played well as a unit. We gave up a goal, but we won the game 2-1!

A McNeese player was overheard at Chili’s saying “I can’t believe we lost to a team like that.”. Its so funny how teams in the conference underestimate us, and think they will be able to come in to our home field and get an easy win! I’m not complaining though, I’m perfectly okay with being the team that kind of flies under the radar. I think everyone felt really good about that win, and it came at an important time for us.

Sunday, we played Lamar. They came into the game with a 2-1 conference record, same as ours. A win was obviously very important! They came into the game leading the conference in yellow cards, by A LOT. They were a physical team, borderline dirty. And they were all British! I half expected to have tea and crumpets at half time! Okay, maybe not. They might have though. Their physical play backfired on them when they got called for a foul in their own box that led to a penalty kick. Kirby put it in the back of the net, and we were up 1-0.

After that goal, they all started yelling at each other and getting too emotional. As a team, we stayed calm, which I really liked. Nobody got caught up in the emotion or physical play, and that really helped us. Our second goal came from Natalie Johnson. Let me tell you about Nat. She’s all of 5’2”, MAYBE, but this girl seemingly flew through the air to get her head on a high cross to put us up 2-0. It was a really good finish, and one that we work on in practice. Our defense had a good game again, and we got the shutout!

With that win, we are 3-1 in conference, in sole possession of second place. We are traveling to New Orleans tomorrow to play Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls this weekend! It should be a fun weekend, and if we get two wins we are guaranteed a place in playoffs. I’ll be back next week with an update, hopefully its another good one!

-- Jenny Pence
SHSU keeper

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jenny's Journal: Sometimes the ball bounces your way

Hey everyone! I hope you guys are enjoying this awesome weather we have been having! I hope it stays! This weekend we played Central Arkansas and Northwestern State on the road to start conference play. We left EARLY Thursday and drove to Conway, Arkansas. We arrived that afternoon, and had a quick training session to get our legs loose.

On Friday, we played UCA at 4 in the afternoon because they have no lights on their field. In the first half, we played great. We got two great goals, one that Kirby Zak headed in off of a perfect corner from Paige Rodriguez, and one off of a great individual effort from Kelsi Brown, who I think either ran through or around about 3 players before burying it in the back of the net.

We went into halftime with a good 2-0 lead. Anyone who knows soccer though, knows that 2-0 is the most dangerous lead in soccer. Coach likes to say that the next goal in a 2-0 game is always the most important. If we score, the game is 3-0 and probably out of reach for the other team. If they score, it is 2-1, and all of a sudden they are right back in it. Well, they scored. They hit a shot off of the crossbar, and a girl was about 10 yards away from the goal to collect the rebound and put it away. 3 minutes after that, they scored again.

So, in the span of 3 minutes, it’s 2-2 and a tie game. We pressed hard, and we were the better team. Paige had free reign on the right side, so she was getting in often and sending in crosses. Natalie Johnson was also doing well on the left side getting behind their defense. We had good chances, but couldn’t quite get one to fall our way.

With a minute and a half left, Paige sent a cross into the box. I think their keeper got a hand on it, then Trish passed it back for Kirby to hit. One of their midfielders/defenders was running back, and it hit off her shinguard and went in. And just like that, we won the game. We should have closed them out, and not let them score. But a win is a win, and I’ll take it any way we can get it.

Saturday, we got on the bus again to start the 4ish hour trip to Northwestern State. We have great memories on that field, that’s where playoffs were last year! We drove straight to the field, and had a small practice again. We ate at the Trail Boss Steakhouse that night, which was right next to “China Garden”, the hole in the wall Chinese buffet that we went to my freshman year. There were literally zero cars in their parking lot. I remember all we ate was ice cream because the food looked AWFUL! Funny how times change!

After dinner we had study hall. I did some Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy homework, Hillary was working on English, and Michele and Kelley were studying the Yankees/Red Sox game that was on TV. Hey, there’s a lot of history in that rivalry! That counts as studying, right? They were reading too, so I’m not completely throwing them under the bus :)

Sunday, we played Northwestern State. We were a little off our game, and couldn’t quite get into a rhythm. They scored first, but we responded in the second half to tie the game at 1-1. I like that we can work our way back into games, it would be nice to not have to though! Then they got another one off of a breakaway, and ended up winning 2-1. It was a game we shouldn’t have lost. It doesn’t feel good to lose games like that, but we will work hard to get two wins next weekend.

We play McNeese on Friday, and Lamar on Sunday at Pritchett field. We need your help and your support! If you’re in town, come out and watch some soccer!

--Jenny Pence
SHSU Keeper