Tech to host 2010 wac soccer tournament

October 28, 2010

by Zach Beaird

The Lady Techster soccer team looks to finish its record-breaking season with a victory against New Mexico State on Friday.

The game will be their final match of the season, as they will also compete in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament held Nov. 4, 5 and 7 at Lady Techster Soccer Field. This will be the first time in school history that Tech will continue play after the regular season ends.

Other teams who have secured their place in the tournament are: San Jose State, Boise State, Utah State and Idaho.

“I was elated when I found out we qualified, but what I felt most was relief,” head coach Kevin Sherry said. “Because the tournament’s here in Ruston, there was more pressure for us to make it.”

Tech knew they would qualify for the WAC when Hawaii tied New Mexico State on Oct. 24 following the Techsters’ win over Hawaii Oct. 22.

A 3-0 shutout against Hawaii boosted the Techsters’ record to 14-5 overall and 4-3 in the WAC.

This record is Tech’s highest in the history of the program, despite being picked last in the WAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

“We were picked last because we were last,” Sherry said, “but that just motivated the team to do well and gain that respect from the conference.”

Freshman goalkeeper Caitlyn Updyke had her sixth shutout of the season against the Rainbow Wahine, tying her with Cat Buchanan, the Techsters’ junior goalkeeper.

Junior defender/midfielder Olivia Lukasewich was the first to put Tech on the board in the 22nd minute. Lukasewich shot the ball low past Hawaii goalkeeper Kanani Taaca after an assist from sophomore midfielder Mo Rockwell and junior forward Rachel King.

After being fouled in the 77th minute, junior midfielder Scotti Culton successfully connected her penalty kick, upping Tech’s score to 2-0.

Two minutes later, senior forward Kiva Gresham scored a rebound shot, after Taaca blocked an initial shot by King. King was credited with her second assist of the game, and Gresham received her 11th goal of the season.

Tech dominated with 13 shots to Hawaii’s 12, as well as 8 shots-on-goal to Hawaii’s 7.

“Both teams were playing for the same thing, to qualify for the tournament,” Sherry said. “This is where the team would crumble in the past, but having gone through those past experiences we’ve come out stronger and succeeded.”

With another win under their belt, the Lady Techsters’ now prepare to hit the road and face New Mexico State Friday. Tech must then prepare for their first WAC Tournament, which Sherry said will be the team’s next goal.

“Our goal was to qualify for the tournament and we’ve done that,” he said. “Now it’s up to the team to either settle for that, or set the next goal. I’m confident they’ll go for it.”

The Lady Techsters will begin the WAC tournament after their trip to New Mexico State Friday at 6 p.m.

E-mail comments to zbc001@latech.edu.