Tech Soccer Aims for a Successful Fall Season
Aug. 20, 2009
RUSTON -- After experiencing the most successful season in women's soccer history at Louisiana Tech, third-year head coach Kevin Sherry and his staff are looking to build on the team's success in 2009.
Before they open the season against Lamar on Aug. 21, the squad needs to strengthen the chemistry they developed last season. They will need to do so with one senior, Hikari Kurokawa, and graduate student, Kat McCullough. Even though they may appear to be a young team on paper with only five upperclassmen, the returning sophomores made a significant contribution in their first year.
Seven of the sophomores scored 27 goals and accumulated 18 assists. An eighth sophomore, Cat Buchanan, lived up to her nickname in goal. She allowed only 13 goals in 1,267 minutes and totaled 57 saves. All five of her wins came as shutouts.
Sherry believes this team is ready to propel itself to a higher level of soccer because it has established a culture that each student-athlete believes in and follows.
"It has taken two years to develop a culture in our program," Sherry said. "Now that we have that foundation, we can use it to excel on the field. I have great confidence in this team because every player supports our four pillars: Family, Passion, Respect and Fearless."
Last season, freshmen Olivia Lukasewich, Rachel King and Kristen Sevier finished first, second and third in points on the team. Lukasewich, an all-LSWA honorable mention recipient last season, totaled 21 points, including eight goals and five assists. King chipped in seven goals and five assists, good for 19 points and Sevier also scored seven times and added three assists for 17 points.
Unfortunately for Tech, they will be without Sevier for the entire year as she suffered an offseason injury.
Before the start of the team's preseason, the returning players welcomed nine high school recruits. Four of the nine arrived from Utah, two headed south from Illinois, two are from Texas and one is a product of Ponchatoula High School in Louisiana.
"I am expecting the freshmen to contribute as much if not more than last year's freshmen class," Sherry said. "All nine of them are excited about joining our program and bringing it to a higher level."
Since Tech's 2008 season concluded, the coaching staff and student-athletes have been eager to improve on the label given to them by the NCAA, the most improved team in the nation.
The 2009 slate features 20 contests, 12 of which will be played on their new pitch, the Lady Techster Soccer Field. Plans are in place for the facility to feature a scoreboard, press box, sound system, permanent bleachers and fencing.
This year, the soccer division of the Western Athletic Conference boasts nine schools with the addition of New Mexico State. The Techsters will start the conference season with two home games, against Idaho and Boise State. They will then travel to San Jose State and WAC Tournament champion Fresno State before they host Hawaii and New Mexico State. Tech will visit WAC regular season champion Utah State prior to their final match of the year at Nevada.
"I am glad to have so many home games this year," Sherry said. "Our non-conference schedule will be challenging because many teams are led by great coaches that are looking to improve. As always, the WAC is going to be tough. Any team can beat any team. We have to be prepared to play every single game."
For complete coverage of Lady Techster Soccer, visit the official home of LA Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.