SFA to Host Ladyjack Soccer Classic
Sept. 14, 2005
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack soccer team will play its first home game of the 2005 season Friday, as part of the inaugural Ladyjack Soccer Classic. The Ladyjack Soccer Classic is a four-team tournament event to be held this Friday and Sunday at the SFA Intramural Complex.
The weekend will kick off Friday at 4:30 p.m., when The Citadel takes on Southland Conference team Texas State. SFA and Louisiana Tech will clash in the nightcap, set to start at 7 p.m. The contest will end a six-match season-opening road trip for the Ladyjacks (3-3).
"We finally get to play in front of our home crowd," SFA head coach Jaime Frias said. "I think the girls are ready to show our fans how well they've been playing on the road. It's an exciting brand of soccer they've been putting together."
The Ladyjack road swing included a three-match winning streak but ended on a sour note last weekend with back-to-back losses against Rice and Houston. SFA fell to Rice, 2-0, and Houston, 3-1.
Louisiana Tech is the hottest team coming into this weekend's tournament. The Lady Techsters are 5-1 and riding a five-game win streak, four of those victories coming via shutouts. The Citadel brings a 2-3 mark to the weekend, having split its last two matches. Texas State broke a season-opening six-game skid with a win over Prairie View A&M last week but will come into this weekend with a 1-6 record.
Frias said he hopes the tournament format will result in more high-energy play this weekend.
"As Division I athletes, a team always comes out to compete," he said. "When there's a trophy involved, I think it makes the games more exciting and adds a little competitiveness. We've got some regional teams coming in that are real close to us. It will also be a good test for us to see how we pair up against a team from the east coast."
The Ladyjack Soccer Classic will wrap up on Sunday with a pair of matches. SFA will meet The Citadel in the first match at 11 a.m. Texas State and Louisiana Tech will follow with a 1:30 p.m. match.
No Place Like Home: The Ladyjacks will play their first home match of the season on Friday when they meet Louisiana Tech in the first round of the Ladyjack Soccer Classic. SFA opened the season with six straight matches on the road. The Ladyjacks went 3-3 over the course of the trip.
After dropping their season opener, the Ladyjacks won three straight matches. Last weekend, though, they lost a pair of contests in Houston, falling to Rice and Houston.
Frias said the comforts of home, while small, can do a lot for a team.
"They get to sleep in their own beds, and we don't have go get on the bus for a while," the coach said. "We finally get to develop a routine. That helps them build confidence, and it makes them more comfortable."
In 2004, the Ladyjacks were 6-1-2 on their home turf at the SFA Intramural Complex, including a 4-0-1 home mark against Southland Conference foes.
Ladyjack Stat Watch: As a team, SFA currently ranks second in the conference in goals allowed. The Ladyjacks have posted two shutouts and held opponents to 1.5 goals per match.
Junior forward Shahin Pabani is tied for fifth in the league in goals and sixth in points . Pabani has notched three goals, giving her six points for the season.
Goalkeeper Natascia Michalezki is currently ranked sixth in the SLC in goals against average. The senior has allowed nine goals for an average of 1.54 per 90 minutes in net. But Michalezki is third in saves (32) and save percentage (.780), and her two shutouts rank second among league netminders.
Ladyjack Soccer Classic Schedule: The inaugural Ladyjack Soccer Classic will kick off Friday at 4:30 p.m. when The Citadel meets Texas State. SFA's match against Louisiana Tech will follow at 7 p.m.
Tournament play will resume Sunday morning at 11 when SFA takes on The Citadel. Texas State and Louisiana Tech will wrap things up with a 1:30 p.m. contest.
About Louisiana Tech: The Lady Techster soccer program is in just its second year of existence. Louisiana Tech got off to a rocky start, going winless in its inaugural campaign. But head coach Jennifer Soileau's program has seemingly turned the corner.
The Lady Techsters are 5-1 this season. Louisiana Tech has won five consecutive matches and is coming off an 8-1 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday. That match marked the second consecutive time that Louisiana Tech had put up eight goals.
About The Citadel: The Bulldogs are coached by Chris Lenzo and bring a 2-3-0 record to this weekend's matches. The Citadel is coming off a 4-0 loss at Coastal Carolina. In the match before that one, the Bulldogs blanked South Carolina State, 2-0. The Citadel has been shut out in each of its three losses.
Megan McAuliffe leads the team in goals with two. Starting goalkeeper Brit Bunnell brings a 1.78 goals against average to the Ladyjack Soccer Classic.
About Texas State: The Bobcats are coming off their first victory of the season, a 9-0 win over Prairie View A&M. Texas State (1-6) opened the season with a six-game losing streak.
Jerelyn Lemmie has scored three goals and leads the team in that category. Goalkeeper Brittany Beltramini carries a 2.73 goals against average.
The Bobcats are coached by Kat Conner. Last season, Texas State finished in second place in the Southland Conference, behind regular-season champion SFA. The Bobcats won the SLC postseason tournament.
Looking Ahead: The Ladyjacks will enjoy one more home game next week before returning to the road to open Southland Conference play. SFA will host Grambling State on Wednesday in a 7 p.m. match.
On Sunday, Sept. 25, the Ladyjacks will travel to Natchitoches, La. to open SLC action with a 4:30 p.m. match against Northwestern State.
-- SFA --