After a strong start to the 2010 spring season, the Cougars head to Austin to take on Baylor at 10 a.m. Saturday.
UH heads into the matchup against the Bears with a 3-0 record after last weekend’s Texas A&M 7-on-7 tournament. For head coach Susan Bush, the hard work her team put in during the offseason is starting to pay off, giving the Cougars the momentum they will need to perform well in matches to come.
“We came out (with) three wins … and everyone that was healthy and able to play contributed,” Bush said. “We looked really strong. I think they came into this spring more fit then they’ve ever been, and that’s given them confidence when they’re playing on the field.”
Saturday’s match against Baylor will be a full squad one, and while having 11 players on the field as opposed to just seven is a different game, Bush said she is hoping they can carry over some momentum from the tournament.
“I’ve seen individual improvement but its tough to say because it’s not a full-size game, so there’s different techniques and different tactics,” Bush said. “There’s kind of a different mentality, but it was our first time out since late October. They were very excited, and there was a lot of energy.”
Saturday’s match comes at a difficult time for Bush & Co., as the Cougars are dealing with a sudden rash of injuries.
UH graduated four seniors and members of Bush’s 2010 class are still with their respective high schools, leaving UH with barely enough players to field a team. Texas Tech, UH’s originally scheduled opponent for Saturday’s second match, is facing similar problems. The afternoon match was ultimately canceled.
In their regular season, the Cougars would play only one match per week with a full squad. Bush thought this weekend’s load was too much to ask of her depleted team.
“To play two games with only 11 players in one day is too much,” Bush said.
Since the spring season’s restrictions limit the number of teams a school can play, Bush is trying to schedule another 7-on-7 match against the North Texas to give the team more practice.
Although the team is facing numerous injuries, Bush is trying to keep the Cougars focused and the winning streak alive.
“We scored a lot of goals in the 7-on-7 tournament, so we’re just going try to generate more offense and put the ball in the back of the net,” Bush said.