Posted Sep 14, 2006 11:53:43
Lady Techsters Adjusting to New Field
RUSTON, La. – When the Lady Techsters take the field at Joe Aillet Stadium Friday night against Arkansas State, it will be the first time anyone has played on the newly installed FieldTurf at the stadium. It will also be the beginning of a long home stand for the team after playing on the road most of the season.
The new turf is an addition to the university sophomore forward Brook Kelly believes can only help the soccer program continue to grow and improve for a number of reasons. The team is no longer limited
“I think it will be great because it gives us the opportunity to use this facility at night. At the other facility we can’t practice at night. This way we can practice under the lights,” Kelly said. “It’s not gonna destroy the ground and we can practice for games on what we’re actually gonna play on.”
In the past, the soccer team practiced on a separate field to ensure better field conditions for home football and soccer contests. Soccer also played some of its matches at the practice facility. With that no longer a concern Coach Jen Burns said the team can focus on learning the ways of the turf and feeling comfortable.
“It is a lot different for the girls,” Burns said. “If you know anything about the turf they filled it with a mixture of sand and rubber and it hasn’t sunk in completely yet. It’s a little bit like running in sand. It’s not like when you push off natural grass, you don’t have the ground pushing back at you. It gives a little bit.”
Another factor the new surface brings is heat. Burns said afternoon practices and games will have a high heat index, which will also play to Tech’s advantage. When opposing teams come to Aillet Stadium, the players will have to adjust to the added heat and it could wear them down.
The team will have plenty time to get used to the new turf with a five-game home stand, and Kelly said she is glad to be a home for a while. It enables the team to get into a rhythm and back to a normal routine.
“It’s awesome because you get to prepare yourself mentally for the fans. The adrenaline rush is heavy when you’re at home, you have everybody supporting you,” Kelly said. “It’s just nice to have our fans and people supporting, you don’t seem to get that one the road.”