The Last Ride: The Final Game for the Class of 2017

todayOctober 20, 2016 6

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By Andrew Zimmel
Sports Reporter

This season has been a turbulent one for the Texas State Bobcats, with hot winning streaks and cold losing ones. However, Sunday’s game against University of Louisiana Monroe not only represents the Bobcats last chance to get into the top 8 and play in the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Women’s Soccer Playoffs, it could also be the last game that this year’s Seniors play in a Bobcat uniform.

Along with the rest of the seniors, Texas State will be losing Senior Forward Lauren Prater. Prater has been a starter for the last the last two years after lettering her freshmen. She was selected for the 2015 Sun Belt Second Team, and was announced as Co-Offensive MVP this season. Prater was also the first player in five years to score a hat trick (score three goals in one game) when she did it against Lamar in September. She did it again in October when she another hat trick against Georgia State.

“That’s probably has been my favorite moment”, Prater said. Last year, Prater also came in clutch scoring five game winning goals and leading the team in goals scored. Coming from Arlington Martin High School Prater didn’t have many expectations. “I was excited coming in. I didn’t know what to expect.” Prater said. She went on to talk about the speed of the game saying, “The play was a lot faster than, say, club or High School, but after your freshmen year you get used to it.”

Head Coach Kat Conner added onto the difference in speeds of the game saying that “It’s hard for all freshmen when they come in. It’s such a fast pace.” Not just in speed, but in the mental aspects of the game as well. Prater however quickly caught on becoming a leader for the team. By junior year, Lauren was known. “She was picked high up in the conference in ‘goal scoring’ {at the beginning of the season}.” This has been hard for Prater and the Bobcats to overcome, with many teams setting up their defense to prevent Prater and other Bobcat forwards from getting in the open field.

Lauren Prater celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal. Photo by Eddie Lerma

That problem will haveto be solved, and quickly, if the Bobcats want to compete in the SBC Tournament in November. “We don’t know where we are going to end up {in Conference ranking}, but we do know we want to win the tournament” Prater said, “We need to take every game one at a time, and play every opponent like they are our hardest team {that we’ve played}”. Focus is also key when playing Coach Conner harped saying “We have got to keep our focus, both offensive and defensive.” However, Conner isn’t looking ahead to far going on to say that any team in the conference can beat each other, and that it’s only a matter of getting into the tournament. For the Bobcats to get into the SBC Tournament they will have to beat a ULM team that is 3-4- 1, and also fighting to keep their spot at eighth in the Conference ranking. The Bobcats play their last game at home this Sunday against ULM, but hopefully not the last game of the season for Texas State.

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