One point of concern for this club is its inability to score goals. This season the Bobcats have been shut out in four of their 11 games, and scored only once in five. Only twice has Texas State made multiple goals in one game. These happened against clubs like Prairie View A&M who had given up six goals in two games and had not beaten anybody coming into the match. Texas Southern came to San Marcos 1-7 and my 10-year-old sister’s youth club could score on them. Simply put, the Bobcats are just not getting the job done.
The girls have outshot their opponents 148-120. The Bobcats have no problem putting the ball on target because as a team Texas State has had 68 shots on goal, 15 more than its opponents. This means 46 percent of its shots are on target. The attack for this club is stronger than one would think with statistics like that, but numbers don’t always tell the whole story.
The slow start in ball games that the girls have displayed this season is what’s killing them. The Bobcats look slow in the first half of games. There seems to be an absence of energy and pace, and they lack the fast starts players need in ball games to avoid falling quickly behind. Texas State has outscored its opponents 10-6 in the second half (six of those goals scored have come against Prairie View and Texas Southern), but has been unable to put up a fight in the first half, only scoring four goals while allowing 10 for their competitors this season.
Another level of concern for the Bobcats is the lack of focus and execution the players have had throughout the year in particular games. The women have lost four games by one goal in 2012.
They played a game earlier this season against the United States Military Academy and allowed a late goal in the 79th minute off a cross into the box to let the Black Knights win, 2-1. Against Rice, the Bobcats came out in the second half on fire and tied the game 1-1, but let a goal go early in the second half and could not regain their momentum. Facing SFA, a Bobcat defender committed a foul in the box in the 83rd minute. This allowed SFA to capitalize on that mistake and win the game 1-0. Recently, against McNeese State, the Bobcats had plenty of chances, but let a minor miscue hurt their chances of winning. They let the only shot on goal by the Cowgirls go in midway through the first half and lost that contest 1-0.
The loss that had to have hurt the most was when the girls went up to Fort Worth and allowed all three of Texas Christian’s goals off set pieces. Players cannot let those kinds of miscues and silly mistakes happen.
It’s not all sour grapes for the Bobcats, unlike the NFL replacement refs who wouldn’t know a touchdown from a grapefruit. They have had some good performances from both their goalies, junior Natalie Gardini and freshman Caitlyn Rinehart. Gardini has recorded two shutouts, Rinehart has one, and both have looked decent in goal at times.
The defense has been the saving grace for this ball club. Yes, the Bobcats have lost four of their 11 games by one goal, but at least these games have gone to the wire and been very close.
As they head into WAC play the Bobcats need to find confidence in the first half, the ability to score multiple goals, and be more competitive against better opposition. If they can do that, the Bobcats could have a decent chance to win the WAC title and an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament. If the girls can’t find their confidence, a call to Oprah might be in order to get her good friend Dr. Phil on line two because it will be a long and stressful season.
Follow Odus Evbagharu on Twitter: @TX_State18