By Richard Prasedyoko
SAN MARCOS, Texas – The Texas State Bobcats return to the Bobcat Soccer Complex as they extended their impressive winning streak in a thrilling conference opener against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
After securing three consecutive victories against Houston Christian, Texas Southern and Houston, the Bobcats surprised fans by starting the match with a different formation. Four defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards took the field, deviating from their previous 3-4-3 formation that led to a shutout 1-0 win against Houston.
The standout of the match, Caitlyn Draper, who earned the title of Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week, once again proved her mettle in goal. Draper’s remarkable showing against Houston, where she made 11 crucial saves, set the stage for another stellar performance with a shutout.
The first half of the match unfolded in a tense and scoreless manner, with both teams exhibiting strong defensive displays and launching more than five shots each.
The turning point arrived just four minutes into the second half when Mady Soumare capitalized on a defensive lapse by the Ragin’ Cajuns. Soumare expertly exploited an error by the Ragin’ Cajuns’ defenders, finding herself in a one-on-one situation. With finesse, she fired a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net, breaking the deadlock.
The Bobcats weren’t done yet. Zoe Junior, with her impressive dribbling skills, added to the lead. Junior skillfully navigated past the Cajuns’ left back and delivered a precise pass to Soumare inside the box. Although Soumare’s shot was deflected by a defender, it struck the crossbar and fell perfectly for Junior to capitalize on the rebound.
The icing on the cake came from Halle Garcia. Wimberley Wright initiated the attack, passing the ball to Alexis Neal down the right flank. Neal, displaying her vision, found Garcia in the box, who unleashed a stunning strike from 10 yards out, sealing the Bobcats’ victory with a third goal.
The Texas State Bobcats’ impressive performance in the conference opener has set the stage for an exciting season ahead. With their versatile formations and sharp attacking skills, they appear to be a force to be reckoned with in the conference.
The Bobcats will now look to carry this momentum forward as they prepare for their upcoming match at Arkansas against the Red Wolves on Sept. 21 at 2:00 p.m., aiming to maintain their winning streak and solidify their position as contenders in the conference.
Written by: Preethi Mangadu