Soccer ups win streak to three against Lafayette

Texas+State+defender+Addison+Gaetano%2C+%2822%29%2C+attempts+to+throw+a+soccer+ball+to+her+teammate%2C+Jessica+Pikoff%2C+%2815%29%2C+during+the+first+half+against+Appalachian+State+Oct.+6+at+the+Bobcat+Soccer+Complex.+Photo+credit%3A+Jaden+Edison
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Soccer ups win streak to three against Lafayette

Texas State defender Addison Gaetano, (22), attempts to throw a soccer ball to her teammate, Jessica Pikoff, (15), during the first half against Appalachian State Oct. 6 at the Bobcat Soccer Complex. Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Texas State defender Addison Gaetano, (22), attempts to throw a soccer ball to her teammate, Jessica Pikoff, (15), during the first half against Appalachian State Oct. 6 at the Bobcat Soccer Complex. Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Jaden Edison

Texas State defender Addison Gaetano, (22), attempts to throw a soccer ball to her teammate, Jessica Pikoff, (15), during the first half against Appalachian State Oct. 6 at the Bobcat Soccer Complex. Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Jaden Edison

Jaden Edison

Texas State defender Addison Gaetano, (22), attempts to throw a soccer ball to her teammate, Jessica Pikoff, (15), during the first half against Appalachian State Oct. 6 at the Bobcat Soccer Complex. Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Aidan Bea and Caleb Howell

After a lackluster seven-game losing streak earlier in the season, the Texas State soccer team won their third-match straight with a narrow 1-0 win over the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns at home on Friday.

The Bobcats’ record now stands at 7-5-2 overall this season and 3-2-1 in Sun Belt Conference play.

The team continued to show their dominance over Lafayette with the win, moving to 6-1 all-time against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

The lone goal of the game came 25 minutes in off of the foot of junior midfielder Mackenzie Smith, who placed the shot off an assist from senior forward Kaylee Davis. A deflected shot from Davis off the bottom center of the goal was recovered by Smith, who then secured the ball and put it into the net to give the Bobcats the 1-0 lead.

Smith credits her goal to practicing shot recovery with Davis.

“It felt really good,” Smith said. “We’ve really been working on following each other’s shots, so it felt really good to be there and be able to finish Kaylee’s shot.”

Despite taking 12 shots as a team, Smith’s goal was the only score of the match, something that has put the ‘Cats in jeopardy earlier in the season. Smith said that the team still has improvements to make offensively.

“I definitely have faith in my team but we need to score more,” Smith said. “We need to make more opportunities for ourselves.”

Despite losing the game, the Cajuns held possession for most of the game and attacked the goal relentlessly. The game was salvaged on the backs of the Bobcat defense, who kept Lafayette at bay despite intense offensive pressure from the Cajuns.

Senior goalkeeper Heather Martin said that the team’s defense is the most consistent part of the team, and each player maintains the back line to keep the other team out of the goal.

“We definitely felt the pressure, but I would say that they (the defenders) handled it well, they always do,” Martin said. “They’re the most composed group of girls under pressure that I’ve ever seen.”

Martin weathered the storm herself, finishing the game with seven saves to secure the team’s third shutout in a row. She said that the team was focused on keeping their momentum coming into the game.

“We came in (and) we knew we needed a win,” Martin said. “We knew we needed to keep this streak rolling, and we knew that it was important to keep our momentum. These girls knew how important it was and they obviously rose to the challenge and put it away.”

Lafayette played stingy defense throughout the game under the leadership of sophomore defender Gwen Mummert, only allowing six shots on goal in the game.

Head Coach Kat Conner said that the team was aware of Mummert’s solid defense and developed a plan to combat her.

“We know she is their organizer in the back and we know that she does a great job of getting them to understand where to play, but we also know that when they play the three back it leaves her a little exposed,” Conner said. “So we were actually looking to try to get in behind her and kind of get her on the run a little bit.”

The ‘Cats have managed eight goals in the past three matches, more than all of the goals combined earlier in the regular season. Conner attributes quicker gameplay to their recent win streak.

“I think it’s a little bit more focus and grit that we’re trying to push and go towards the goal quicker than we normally (do),” Conner said. “We’d sometimes like to put passes together and now we’re just looking to go a little bit faster.”

After an 0-2-1 early conference record, the ‘Cats are aware that each game counts as they attempt to salvage their season and advance to postseason, Conner said.

“Right now I think the whole focus all of us are having is to punch that ticket one more time,” Conner said. “We’re trying to get our ticket to go to the postseason tournament, so that’s the main focus. Each game, one-by-one, (we’ll) punch the ticket and see where we go in the first week of November.”

The ‘Cats are now 3-2-1 in conference, with the win against Lafayette contributing to postseason qualification.
The Bobcats must continue to rise to the challenge and climb the Sun Belt standings as they look to keep up their win streak at Coastal Carolina on Friday.

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