A 5-0 undefeated Lady Blazer squad faces off against Gulf South Conference defending champion North Alabama Friday at 5 p.m. This will be one of the Lady Blazers toughest games of the season as North Alabama was voted to repeat as Conference Champions and are ranked 22nd in the country.
The Lions will enter Friday’s game coming off a loss to West Florida. At 4-1 on the season the loss only caused them to drop one spot in the national rankings. They have out-scored their opponents 16-5 led by two-time GSC player of the week Chloe Roberts.
In their inaugural season last year the Blazers defeated North Alabama 1-0 in regular season play but would lose to the Lions in the Conference Semi-Finals 5-3.
The last three games the Blazers have needed late goals to finish off their opponents including two overtime wins. Falling behind on Friday would pose a huge threat to the teams shot at 6-0.
With a young team before a pivotal game, Coach Melissa Heinz treats it just like any other week.
“We try to stick to the same game plan,” Heinz said. “If you try to change up things for different teams it will cause more stress on our own players.”
A major key to the Blazer’s game plan will be capitalizing on their scoring opportunities. They have put more shots on goal then four of their five opponents this season, but all five of their games have been one-goal games. Making the most of one or two possessions could be the difference.
As it is the only match-up between these two teams in the regular season, it could be a preview of a showdown in the conference tournament this November. North Alabama and VSU look to be two of the top teams in the GSC.
Win or lose, the Lady Blazers should learn a lot about their team afterwards.
“I think like every game, we will learn what we need to keep working at and what we need to encourage our players to do more of,” Heinz said. “Stay on the positives and work on the weaknesses.”