Ladyjacks Look to Extend Streak
Oct. 13, 2005
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack soccer team enters this weekend's slate riding the momentum of a six-match winning streak that has the Ladyjacks tied for first in the Southland Conference standings. Friday, SFA will have the chance to match last season's longest streak if it can get past Sam Houston State. Better yet, the Ladyjacks will try to do so in front of the home crowd at the SFA Intramural Complex, where they are undefeated this year.
"The girls look at it like this is their house," SFA head coach Jaime Frias said. "They try to make it as difficult as possible for our opponents. They train on that field, they live there, really. It's their home, and they know all the ins and outs."
The Ladyjacks (9-3-0, 3-0-0) have used that knowledge to their advantage in each of the last three seasons. Dating back to Sept. 27, 2002, SFA has lost just one home match. In that time span, the Ladyjacks have recorded a 21-1-6 mark at home, including this season's 4-0-0 record.
Friday's opponent, Sam Houston, brings a 2-9-0 overall record and a 2-1-0 SLC mark to the 7 p.m. contest. The Bearkats bring some momentum to the match, having won their last two contests, both road matches against Nicholls State and Southeastern Louisiana. Sam Houston has held its opposition to three goals or fewer in all but three of its matches. However, the Bearkats have had trouble finding the net. They've scored only 10 goals all season and have been shut out five times.
The Ladyjacks, meanwhile, have had little difficulty on the offensive end of the field. SFA has put up 30 goals this season, including 21 during its current winning streak. Twenty-two of the Ladyjack goals have come in the second halves of their matches, when they have outscored the opposition by 14 goals.
"I think what happens is teams do a good job keeping up with our pace in the first period," Frias said. "But we impose an intensity for 90 minutes that doesn't drop off. It's tough for other teams to keep up with that. I think the girls do a good job preparing themselves throughout the week, as far as their fitness."
The Ladyjacks are definitely in good shape for the stretch run of the SLC race. After Friday's contest, SFA will travel to Shreveport, La. Sunday for a non-conference duel with Centenary. The next time out will be a Friday, Oct. 21 showdown with Northwestern State, the team currently tied with the Ladyjacks atop the conference standings.
SFA collected a pair of Southland Conference road wins last weekend, defeating Southeastern Louisiana, 3-0, and Nicholls State, 5-0. Freshman forward Amanda Alders continued her offensive assault, leading the Ladyjacks with two goals in each contest. Senior goalkeeper Natascia Michalezki recorded eight saves and picked up her fifth and sixth shutouts of the season to improve her record to 8-3.
Players of the Week
Freshman forward Amanda Alders and senior defender Kim Gray were named the Southland Conference Aeropostale Players of the Week Tuesday for their performances last weekend. Alders' four-goal weekend earned her offensive honors, while Gray took defensive honors. She helped key a defense that recorded back-to-back shutouts and also recorded a goal and an assist in the win over Nicholls.
Freshman forward Amanda Alders continues to lead the Ladyjacks in goals and points after another solid weekend. Alders now has 10 goals on the season and 22 points. She leads the conference in both categories. The next-closest Ladyjack is classmate Amanda Lackey, who has recorded five goals and three assists for 13 points. Senior defender Kim Gray has notched three goals and an assist, giving her seven points, and junior forward Shahin Pabani has three goals and six points. Senior goalkeeper Natascia Michalezki is once again among the top net-minders in the league. Michalezki leads the conference in goals against average (0.93), save percentage (.857) and shutouts (6). She has recorded 60 saves and has an 8-3 record this season.
-- SFA --