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Women’s soccer: Conference USA Tournament preview

FAU to play against Louisiana Tech in the first round of the conference tournament.

Senior+forward+Sammy+Rowland+leads+the+Owls+with+five+goals+scored+this+season.+Mohammed+F.+Emran+%7C+Staff+Photographer
Senior forward Sammy Rowland leads the Owls with five goals scored this season. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photographer

Senior forward Sammy Rowland leads the Owls with five goals scored this season. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photographer

Senior forward Sammy Rowland leads the Owls with five goals scored this season. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photographer

Elyscia Saint-Hilaire, Contributing Writer

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Finishing out its season with a 0-1 overtime loss against Rice University, Florida Atlantic (6-3-1 in Conference USA) now prepares to face off against Louisiana Tech (6-4-0 Conference USA) in the first round of the 2016 Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Even though FAU is entering the tournament off of a loss, the team has won its previous three matches prior to its defeat against Rice. FAU’s record earned the No. 4 seed.

Louisiana Tech is also coming into the tournament off of a loss against North Texas which places them at No. 5.

With both teams entering the tournament with similar stats, the Owls will need to come out strong if they are to expect a win.

The Owls overall record lies at 10-7-2. Part of their success can be attributed to the fact that they have allowed the second least amount of goals in conference games. Throughout the entire season, they gave up 14 goals in 19 games.

Senior goalkeeper Sydney Drinkwater has 10 shutout games this season and comes in at third in Conference USA stats with a save percentage of .847. If Drinkwater and FAU’s defense brings their A-game, they can be confident against the Bulldogs.

Although they have a strong defense, the Owls can struggle to capitalize on goal-scoring opportunities. FAU lies second to last in the 14-team conference with 19 goals scored this season.

If FAU is to leave the game on Wednesday with a win it will need to step up offensively as Louisiana Tech’s 44 goals this year are the most in the conference.

The Owls top scorers include senior forward Samy Rowland, who has five goals and two assists, and freshman midfielders Mary O’Hara and Elisha Holmes with two goals and two assists each.

Freshman forward Pernille Velta has three goals and one assist this season.

Last year the Owls came into the tournament as the No. 3 seed with the same conference record as this year. They had their best record since 2005 with 12 wins during the season.

Going into the tournament with high hopes, FAU fell short in its first game, a 2-1 loss to Old Dominion which knocked them out of the tournament.

If FAU is to win on Wednesday the team will need to stop Louisiana Tech’s top scorers, Kathryn Sloan with nine goals and six assists and Mylene Roy-Ouellet who has seven goals and one assist this season.

When the two teams faced off on Oct. 10 of last year, FAU came out on top with a 2-0 win. The previous year FAU lost to Louisiana Tech 1-0 in overtime.

If the Owls can defeat Louisiana Tech on Wednesday they will go on to play the winner of the Old Dominion and North Texas match, which is also on Wednesday.

FAU lost its last matchup against against Old Dominion on Sept. 23. It last played North Texas last October and fell short 2-1.

FAU and Louisiana Tech will kick off on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. If the Owls win, their next game will be Friday, Nov. 4, at 4:30 p.m.

Elyscia Saint-Hilaire is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email esainthilair2015@fau.edu or tweet her at @elyscia_saint18.

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