2008 Louisiana Tech Women's Soccer Recap

Lady Techsters Put Together Best Season in Program's History

The 2008 squad achieved many goals and tied or surpassed several records.

Nov. 17, 2008

Ruston -- In 2008, Louisiana Tech's women's soccer team put together the most successful season in its five year history. Not only did the Lady Techsters surpass their season record in wins, but several other team and individual records were shattered along the way.

The team was led by six seniors who were a part of the first recruiting class in the program's history: Leslie Buck, Emily Cleaveland, Brittany Davis, Kat McCullough, Denise Wilson and Amy Wolsted. The six student-athletes were expected to be leaders for the 2008 recruiting class which included three goalkeepers, three defenders, five midfielders and five forwards.

"Because of the changes we made to the team during the spring and seeing the obvious upturn in results, I was excited to see the team play in the 2008 fall season," Tech head coach Kevin Sherry said. "The team worked hard in the off-season, and I was interested to see if my theories of what it takes to make a successful team hold up."

After losing a hard-fought 2-1 match against Sun Belt Conference powerhouse North Texas in the season opener, the Lady Techsters rallied by winning the next four games against Texas Woman's University, Delta State, Stephen F. Austin and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

During their first winning streak of the season, they outscored their opponents by a score of 15-0. Freshman Kristen Sevier made an immediate impact by scoring a goal in the team's first win of the year on Aug. 31 against Texas Woman's University. At the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the midfielder earned herself seven points when she scored three goals and recorded an assist in an 8-0 win. Freshmen Olivia Lukasewich and Rachel King contributed by scoring two goals a piece during the four game stretch. King, a native of O'Fallon, Mo., also recorded three assists during the program's second longest winning streak.

Not to be out done by the offense, the defense, led by Buck and Davis allowed only 11 shots on goal. Freshmen goalkeepers Cat Buchanan and Jean Bernard earned two-and-a-half and one-and-a-half shutouts respectively. On Sept. 8, Buchanan was awarded WAC Player of the Week honors for her work between the posts.

"Despite losing to North Texas in our first game, I could see we were ready to be successful," Sherry said. "North Texas is a top team and to do so well against them on the road, was just the proof I needed."

The Lady Techsters suffered a brief set back in a 3-2 overtime loss versus I-20 opponent Grambling State University on Sept. 16.

"We lost to Grambling after we were winning 2-0 with only 4 minutes to go," Sherry said. "That should not have happened and our winning streak should have continued. But it didn't, and we need to learn from that experience for the future."

Following the loss, the women responded in a fury by winning six of the next seven matches. On Oct. 4, the Lady Techsters experienced their largest victory of the season in a 8-0 win at Prairie View A&M. The team also re-wrote two and tied one record. A record-setting 25 points were accumulated by the team during the match. Of the 25 points, eight were goals and nine were assists. The eight goals tied four separate records that were set three seasons ago. The nine assists surpassed the previous record of eight which the Lady Techsters established in 2005 versus Belhaven College.

In all, 13 different players put the ball in the back of the net. The WAC rewarded freshman Scotti Culton (Sept. 22), McCullough (Sept. 29) and junior Hikari Kurokawa (Oct. 6) with WAC Player of the Week honors for their efforts.

The Lady Techsters opened the WAC schedule on Oct. 10 with a 2-2 draw against Boise State. The women battled their opponents in the following four conference games, however they were only rewarded with three ties and one loss, including a 1-0 defeat against 2008 WAC Tournament Champion Fresno State.

After the women dropped a 4-2 match at Hawaii, their hopes in a WAC Tournament berth rested on the final game of the season against Utah State.

A day before playing the Aggies, Davis was named to the 2008 Academic All-District 6 Women's Soccer Team presented by ESPN The Magazine. She is the first member of the program to ever earn Academic All-District honors and the only member of a WAC school on this year's team.

The Aggies came in to the final regular season match having already clinched the WAC division title with a record of six wins and zero losses. The Lady Techsters were looking for their first conference win in the program's history.

In the first half of the match, Utah State recorded six shots to the Lady Techsters two, however the half ended with a score of 0-0. Once the second half began, the Lady Techsters came out aggressive. They had four opportunities, including two headers in a span of a little over five minutes.

In the 52nd minute, the Aggies scored to take a 1-0 lead. Sherry and Co. had three more opportunities on net, but the Aggies prevailed by a goal ending the historic season.

The Lady Techsters concluded the 2008 season with a 10-5-5 record. They broke team single game records for assists and points and tied the record for most goals. They also broke several team single season records, including most goals (49), fewest goals allowed (18), assists (40), points (138), shutouts (10) and wins (10).

Numerous individual records were also either tied or surpassed. Sevier tied the record for most goals and points in a game with three goals and one assist for a total of seven points against UAPB on Sept. 9.

Lukasewich missed tying the record for most goals in a season by one. She currently ranks second in the record books with eight goals in one season. Both King and Sevier now hold the record for third most goals in a season with five. Even though Lukasewich did not tie the most goals record, she and King tied the record for assists in a season with five. Lukasewich's eight goals and five assists move her to first place in most points in a single season with 23.

Buchanan rounds out the record-breakers by totaling eight shutouts which are the most a Lady Techster has recorded in a single season. She surpassed Chrissy Haisler's 2005 record of four-and-a-half shutouts.

"I feel very happy about what we achieved and where we stand now," Sherry said. "This team has come from such adversity and to now stand on the brink of greatness is a very proud moment. The season was a coming together of like-minded people who love their sport and who are willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of the team."

The Lady Techsters bid farwell to seniors Buck, Cleaveland, Davis, Wilson and Wolsted.

"I have nothing but great admiration for the five seniors we say goodbye to this year," Sherry said. "They have had to endure more than anyone else and to send them off with such a great season is the best `senior gift' I could have ever wished for. They deserve to be honored and remembered for what they have done and given to this program. Their influence will be greatly missed."

McCullough, a redshirt senior, has also played her final game for the Lady Techsters.

"Kat has decided to graduate in May with her fellow seniors," Sherry said. "She has decided to forgo her final year of soccer to pursue her future education goals. She too will be greatly missed."

Sherry believes the team is poised to improve on what was a successful season and is looking forward to a bright future for the program.

"I truly believe this team will now use the experiences of this past season to really push on and improve even more," Sherry said. "They have the talent, desire, work ethic and team spirit which will lead them to even better and greater things. If we can take what we need to learn from the 2008 season and work hard in the off-season, I see no reason why this team can't take the winning record even higher. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so we will just take each day as it comes and give it 100% effort."

Related Stories