By Russell Ramsey
Coach Kat Conner and the Bobcats are back in action and looking to make another playoff run in 2016.
The Bobcats performed well last season with a 12-6-0 overall and 6-3 conference record. The season ended after a 2-1 loss to Georgia State.
The Bobcats are beginning their 18th year as a program and third in the Sun Belt Conference. The preseason poll has the Bobcats picked for sixth in the conference.
The Bobcats have the returning players needed for a great season, such as Co-Offensive Player of the year, senior Lauren Prater. She led the Sun Belt Conference with 12 goals as a forward last season, among those were five game winning goals. Prater also had 28 assists last season, leaving her tied for the most among returning players to the Sun Belt Conference.
Defensively junior Chandler Cooney brings her 31 games of experience to the table. She was selected to the 2015 All- Sun Belt Conference Second team after being the 2014 Texas State Most Improved Player.
Junior Elizabeth Havenhill returns after starting nine games last season. She led the defense to seven shutouts as a freshman and earned the 2014 Texas State Defensive MVP.
Senior Ali Jones also plays a strong part in the defense that produced five shutouts last season.
18 players out of a 25 player roster return for this season and they provide quality experience for the Bobcats. Captains Lauren Prater and senior Maddie Nichols lead the team in minutes played as well. Combined, they bring 114 games and 6,872 minutes played.
The Bobcats also bring playoff experience with them as they take on the season. They lost a close game at Georgia State in the quarterfinal round last season. The Bobcats lost 2-1 in a game where the team statistic show how close they were to advancing. They trailed the Panthers 10-9 in shots, 6-4 in shots on goal and 6-3 in fouls. It was a tough loss but it provided quality minutes in the intensity of the playoffs.
The Bobcats got their season started with a 1-1 exhibition against Incarnate Word in San Antonio on August 12. Senior Clarissa Leon scored the Bobcats only goal while the defense played a great game to follow. Junior Maddi Nordstrom recorded a save in her 30 minutes in the game.
The Bobcats are picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll, but Coach Conner and the Bobcats may have their sights set a bit higher. With the pre season Co-Conference MVP and other key returning players on both sides of the ball, they could be eyeing a deeper playoff run in the 2016 season