Sept. 13, 2012
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech soccer continues their nonconference schedule tomorrow as they take on the Jackson State Tigers at the Lady Techster Soccer Complex at 4 p.m.
Tech currently boasts a 5-1-2 record after going 1-0-1 this past weekend with a win over UALR and a tie with South Alabama. With only four matches remaining before WAC play starts, head coach Kevin Sherry is hoping to use these last few nonconference games to fine tune his team's mentality and technique.
"We are looking to add technical aspects of the game to the players which will help them improve," said Sherry who has his team tied for 19th in the NCAA in goals per game with 2.75. "It doesn't happen overnight. It takes emphasis, repetition and application. We have improved our mental toughness and we must continue this trend as WAC play nears because without it we will struggle."
Along with maintaining their mental toughness, the young, undersized Lady Techster squad must be able to counter physical opponents using their speed and quick-pass combinations.
"The fitness levels of the freshmen are improving as they play more games," said Sherry. "We rely so heavily on them that it is paramount they are fit enough for WAC play."
"WAC soccer is very physical and competitive and we cannot allow ourselves to be bullied. These next four [nonconference] teams are renowned for their aggressive approach to the game so this will be perfect preparation for us."
Jackson State will present the first challenge tomorrow, and the returning Tech players are well aware of just how physical they can be. The Techsters struggled last year in Jackson, Miss. versus the Tigers and their competitiveness on the soccer field.
Tech wound up with the 1-0 victory on an Abby Sentz goal in the 71st minute. That win tied up the series, and tomorrow's match will be the first between the two teams played in Ruston.
Jackson State is led by first year head coach Dean Joseph and have yet to notch a win this year after seven games. The Tigers recently participated in the Gamecock Adidas Soccer Classic in Jacksonville, Ala. where they dropped close matches to both upcoming Tech opponent McNeese State and to South Carolina State.
Stepping up for Tech lately has been junior forward Emily Brennan and sophomore midfielder Andrea Weng. Brennan leads the team with four goals and is tied for seventh in the country in game-winning goals with three.
Weng had a career performance last Sunday at South Alabama as the transfer from Hedmark University College in Aarnes, Norway scored the game-tying goal in the 86th minute on a 35-yard strike from outside the box. She played just 61 minutes of action after coming off the bench and recorded nine shots, five of those on goal. Her nine shots taken were the most by a Lady Techster since Rachel King took 10 shots on Sept. 4, 2009 at Nicholls State.
Team selection is sure to become more and more difficult for coach Sherry entering WAC play as new players like Weng continue to standout.
"We have a solid 20 who are fighting for playing minutes which is good to see because of their hard work in training and improved performances in games," said Sherry.
LA Tech All-Access subscribers can listen to and watch a live video stream of the game by logging on through LATechSports.com, the official website of Louisiana Tech Athletics. Live stats will be available through the link provided on the schedule page. Twitter users can get updates of the game as well by following @LaTechSOC.