SFA Soccer 2012 Preview: Midfielders
Aug. 16, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – With a second consecutive Southland Conference Player of the Year award in her back pocket, Stephen F. Austin midfielder and South Africa Olympian Kylie Louw enters her senior season as the unmistakable leader of the midfielders for the Ladyjacks.
The Discovery, South Africa native is coming off a 2011 campaign in which she tallied 28 points and a school-record 14 assists. She was named a first-team all-conference player for a third straight year and was chosen to the NSCAA 2011 Women’s Division I All-Central Team.
Not to mention, following the 2011 school year she had the honor of representing her country at the 2012 Olympics in London, where she helped lead South Africa to their first ever Olympic appearance and even played Japan to a 0-0 draw.
Suffice to say Louw will once again play a critical role in helping deliver a seventh conference title to SFA and the dreams of playing postseason soccer.
“Kylie will be the spark in our attack,” SFA head coach Tony Amato said. “A lot of things will go through her. She also has the work rate to help us defensively as a box to box midfielder.”
Joining Louw in the starting lineup will be junior Melissa Gaudet, who scored four goals in 2011 and is one of the better passers on the team. Gaudet had one of the bigger goals of last season, a game-winner against UTSA in the first round of the conference tournament.
“Melissa will be playing a holding role to break up the other team’s rhythm,” Amato said. “She has great vision on the ball and can distribute to players in goal scoring situations. She’s also more fit than last season and we expect her to be a key piece.”
One of the other upper classmen who will be counted on is senior Becky Johnson. The left-footed Bakersfield, California native is one of the better outside distributors on the team. She played in all 19 games in 2011 and had two goals and four assists.
“From a wide standpoint Becky is our key piece on the left side,” Amato said. “She can serve as good as anyone, especially corners and free kicks. She gives us width in our attack and can serve crosses into the box to create dangerous situations.”
SFA will also get their first look at redshirt freshman Dallas Brown, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. The Kingwood, Texas native has made a full recovery and gives the Ladyjacks some much-needed depth.
“Dallas is a very technical player with a good work rate,” Amato said of Brown. “We think she’s going to be a big bonus for us after coming back from a torn ACL.