Cougars defeat Sam Houston in opener
The Cougars started their 2010 season with a 1-0 victory over the Sam Houston State Bearkats despite playing an inconsistent game.
“It’s early in the season and I’m always happy to get a win as a result,” coach Susan Bush said. “But I think we struggled to find a rhythm tonight. Sam Houston played very well; they put us under a lot of pressure and they created some chances for themselves. I thought they were quicker to the ball. I thought they outplayed us at times. In a way, I think we were lucky to get our result.”
Despite getting off to a slow start and struggling to find a flow to their game, the Cougars took the lead on a goal by senior Melanie Adelman at the 19:12-mark.
“It’s better to get it in early, so we play with confidence and we won’t have to worry about, ‘Oh we need a goal, we need a goal’. So it’s very important, it’s key,” Adelman said.
Although the goal held up as enough to clinch the victory for the Cougars, coach Bush saw several areas where the Cougars could improve before their next match.
“I think part of the reason we struggled was because we played very well against HBU,” Bush said. “And maybe we came out a little cocky. Sometimes having a really good result is bad for a team. Look, we started the season with two wins — one in our exhibition and one in our first official game. So I’m not complaining too much, but we have a lot to work on this week.
“I think our defense needs a lot of structure, just in terms of organization. Our shape needs a lot of work and so does our aggressiveness. Getting first to the ball, battling, getting the first tackle in. We’ll touch on that a lot this week.”
Coach Bush did not feel like the Cougars found a groove as a group and tried several different formations with different pairings of players.
“I thought we struggled with playing a 3-4-3,” Bush said. “So actually in the end we changed it a bit. We’re not set on any specific formation. We want to do what will get us the best results and what our players are most comfortable with, so we might have to tweak it a little bit and we have the personnel to do that. It’s still early so we can try some different things.”
The Cougars’ highly regarded freshman class was also on display, with nine of the ten getting on the field and walk-on goalkeeper Chelsea Meyers shutting down the Bearkats.
“I think the freshmen are very talented,” Bush said. “We had four or five freshman starting and maybe that lends a lot to our nervousness and how we came out to start the game. These kids are going to help us a lot this year. So the quicker
they get more comfortable on the field and play like sophomores, juniors and seniors, the better off we’ll be.”
The Cougars begin their first road trip this weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday and McNeese State on Sunday with much for coach Bush to decide.
“I’m not sure who will start. I don’t know the formation we’ll play — don’t know. We’ll have a whole week to figure it out,” Bush said.