Soccer wraps up home slate this weekend

GO CARDINALS Danielle Pearce is one of six Lamar seniors who will be honored prior to Friday night's game.
GO CARDINALS
Danielle Pearce is one of six Lamar seniors who will be honored prior to Friday night's game.
GO CARDINALS

Oct. 24, 2013

Lamar's Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Incarnate Word's Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

BEAUMONT, Texas - This weekend will be the most important and most emotional one for the Lamar University women's soccer team this season.

The Cardinals (6-9-1 overall, 3-5-1 Southland Conference) host Abilene Christian at 7 p.m. Friday and Incarnate Word at 1 p.m. Sunday as they continue their heroic run to a berth in next month's Southland Conference Tournament. The Cardinals are two points behind Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas and Nicholls, who are in a three-way tie for the final two tournament berths. With just three games remaining on the schedule, every game is an important one for the Cardinals.

On top of that, emotions will be running high for Lamar's six seniors (Grace Bowman, Laura Hicks, Stefanie Miroballi, Jennifer Moore, Danielle Pearce and Amber Thornhill), who will play in their final home games of their career. The six will be honored at Senior Night ceremonies prior to Friday's game.

"They have been invaluable to my time here," Lamar second-year coach Orlando Cervantes said. "Not only as players, but as leaders and as people off the field. I've become attached to them. It will be emotional, that's for sure."

The senior splayed a big role in the growth of the Lamar soccer program, which is in just its seventh season. Lamar had its best season ever last year, finishing with a school record 11 wins and advancing to the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament for the first time in program history.

"I've enjoyed every year I've been here," Miroballi said. "It's been fun to be a part of the growth of the program."

Pearce, who came to Lamar from Avalon, Australia, has come to call Beaumont home.

"I've gotten used to everything, including the mosquitoes," she said. "I'm leaving a piece of me behind here. The four years have gone by so fast."

Bowman, a fifth-year senior, can't recall one specific thing that stands out.

"There are so many good memories here," the native of Carlisle, England, said. "This has been a special time for me."

While the Cardinals may allow themselves to be a little emotional before Friday's ceremonies, they know they have business to take care of once the game starts. Lamar needs to win at least two of its remaining three games, perhaps all three, to have a chance of getting into the Southland Conference Tournament.

"The good news is we're playing our best soccer of the year right now," Cervantes said. "We're healthy for the most part, and we're peaking at the right time."

Abilene Christian (13-3-1, 7-3-0) and Incarnate Word (9-6-0, 3-5-0) are in their first season of Division I as they make the transition from Division II. As a result, the two teams aren't eligible for postseason competition, but that doesn't mean the Cardinals are taking them lightly.

"They are both good teams," Cervantes said. "They were both good Division II programs, and they have come in and posted some big wins in our conference."

 Abilene Christian has won two straight, including a 3-1 victory over visiting Incarnate Word on Sunday. Andrea Carpenter leads the Wildcats with 30 points on 12 goals and six assists. Kelsey Dombrowski (8-2-0, 0.74) and Sydney Newton (5-1-1, 0.89) have shared time in goal.

Incarnate Word's offense is paced by Katie Miller, who has nine goals and three assists for 21 points. Heather Kowalik (8-5-0, 1.43) has seen the bulk of action in goal.

Cervantes said he won't be trying to get updates on the out-of-town scores this weekend.

"We just have to take care of what we can control," he said. "Hopefully, if we win our games, that's good enough to get us in."

Lamar closes the season at Central Arkansas on Nov. 1.

The first 100 fans at Friday's game will receive a free mini cowbell courtesy of BASF. In addition, Friday is First Responders Night, with all police, fire and EMS personnel receiving free admission.

Sunday's game will be the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game, with fans encouraged to wear pink to show their support. The first 200 fans will receive a free pink cupcake courtesy of Five Point Credit Union. In addition, Sunday is Kids Day, with an inflatable bounce house and free fingerprint kits available for parents to get their children's fingerprints documented.

For ticket information for this weekend's games, call (409) 880-1715, or visit www.LamarCardinals.com. Tickets are on sale at the Montagne Center ticket office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Tickets will be available at the Lamar Soccer Complex one hour prior to game time both days.

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