Defending their crown

If you intend to get to Grambling State University’s soccer facility you have a small journey ahead of you. You have to travel behind Eddie Robinson Stadium, behind the athletic facility and to the right of the newly built Assembly Center. Though it is hard to find the facility, the Women’s Soccer team has been able to find something that has eluded the football team and the basketball program over the course of the past few years: Success.

Last season, after a shaky 0-4 start, the women ran through the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) going undefeated (9-0-1). The women finished the year at 9-6-2, but most importantly as SWAC champions.

The Tigers seemingly had no issues defeating SWAC teams outscoring them 34-5. The only trouble the women had were their non-conference counterparts from higher level schools.

“We have to fight more in non-conference matches,” said second-year head coach and last year’s SWAC coach of the year Tamara Crawley. “It’s going to be like that until the SWAC gets better quality athletes.”

The team seems to be geared up to make a similar run at the SWAC this season. The Tigers have a 15-player roster, well under the norm for a collegiate soccer team which usually has 25, but that includes eight upperclassmen, a definite advantage to the team.

“We’ve played together,” Crawley said. “The experience is there, and we’ve only added four players.”

Part of that experience is Senior Midfielder Natasha Nzeakor who scored a team-high 10 goals last season. She along with sophomore goalkeeper Cherie Silas won All- SWAC Tournament honors for the team en route to last season’s championship.

As of Sept. 24 the women (4-5, 0-0) are scheduled to play host to Arkansas Pine Bluff Sept. 28 at 2p.m. The 4-5 record is an insignificant hill to climb considering the fact that women are no strangers to a shaky start. Success, unlike the soccer facility, should not be difficult for the women to find.