Aug. 8, 2013
RUSTON - Head coach Kevin Sherry welcomed in 26 players to campus yesterday for a full day of dormitory and apartment move-ins, team meetings and a meet and greet with the soccer community, capped off with a ceremonial flipping of the switch on the new stadium lights at the Lady Techster Soccer Complex.
This morning, coach Sherry welcomed the team onto the soccer field as the Lady Techsters took part in their first fall practice of the year, just 15 days away from the season opener.
After a light jog and some stretch workouts, the team broke up into three different sections to work on basic touch drills.
The heart of the practice came in the second part of it when the players were put through a grueling fitness test to access their current fitness levels and for the most part, coach Sherry came away very pleased.
"For the most part I was really impressed," said Sherry now entering his seventh season at the helm. "We ask that the players come in fit. The fitter they come in the more work we can do tactically and technically to get us better prepared. We don't want to waste time with too much fitness work.
"The returners, as a group, led the way. I was really proud of the way the returners showed that they are in really good fitness health. Some of the incoming freshmen they were good and to some it was a bit of a shock but that's the way it always is."
Last season was a crapshoot for LA Tech as to how it would play out on the soccer field due to the team's lack of experience.
Picked to finish dead last in the WAC with a squad of only two seniors returning, somehow 17 newcomers sparked an impressive 12-5-4 season that included an 11-game unbeaten streak, a 1-1 tie versus nationally ranked Denver and a fourth place finish to qualify for the conference tournament.
The 2013 Lady Techsters will be looking for a little déjà vu this season as 18 new-newcomers will take the field in hopes of repeating, and building, on last year's success except this time it will be in the competitive Conference USA.
"Going into C-USA is a step up in levels of soccer so it will be difficult to immediately replicate the kind of success and progress we had in the WAC," said Sherry. "I am confident though this group of young ladies will quickly learn and adapt which will see great benefits for us in the future."
Traditionally, coach Sherry's teams have been built on speed with his possession, up-tempo passing style of player, but the most noticeable part of the new roster is the added height and power to go along with the speed.
"We are very fortunate this year that we have very technical players that are also quite tall that can now compete with the bigger players from the other teams," said Sherry.
The team will reconvene for their second fall practice tonight at 7:30 for a lighter workout session.
LA Tech's campaign opens up on the road against LSU on Aug. 23 with many more road challenges around the corner as the schedule consists of 13 of the 20 matches away from Ruston.
The much-anticipated Conference USA play starts on Sept. 27 with the Lady Techsters opening up at Tulsa.
For complete coverage of LA Tech Soccer, please follow @LATechSOC on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.