It’s win or go home as the Lady Blazers kick of the Gulf South Conference tournament today vs. West Georgia.�
At 13-3-2 the team had a great second season and has looked dominant at times.
With possibly three games in four days and the No.2 team in the nation West Florida most likely making the championship game, they are going to have to be more than dominant.
In last year’s tournament the Blazers were the number three seed but only four teams made the tournament.
It is a little different this year as now the top six teams in the conference make the tournament.
Head coach Melissa Heinz said that this is one of the biggest obstacles that the team will face.
“The biggest challenge is going to be that this year there is going to be three games. Last year there was just the Semi-Finals and Finals,” Heinz said. “Having two games back to back will be the additional challenge, but nothing we can’t handle.”
The Blazers enter the tournament again as the number three seed in the GSC and West Georgia the number six.
The winner of VSU vs. UWG gets North Alabama on Friday in the Semi-Finals.
Last year in the GSC tournament the Blazers lost in the Championship to North Alabama. This year the Blazers suffered their first loss of the season to the Lions 4-3.
A huge revenge match in the Semi-Finals is looming.
But first VSU has to get past rival West Georgia, a team VSU has struggled with in the past. In two games against them this season the Blazers have only scored one goal, which came in overtime giving them a 1-0 win.
In the second game in Carrolton neither team found the net knotting a 0-0 tie.
Perhaps they can continue their stellar defense against UWG and get a few goals to work with.
This team knows how it feels to be close and lose.
They have improved in almost every aspect of the game. Coach Heinz thinks that experience will be huge for the Blazers in the tournament.
“They’ve been there,” Heinz said. “They understand that if you lose you’re out. We win and compete and keep going.”
The Blazers have gained experience and leadership through virtually every position on the soccer field. Five players were named All-GSC. Senior defender Arielle Sabina and midfielder Abby Edwards were named to the first team. Goalie Olivia Mills, midfielder Leanne Bishop, and forward Blakely McClellan were named to the second team.
Win the conference. That was the goal set by players and coaches since the start of the season.
As an underdog in the tournament again, they have positioned themselves nicely to achieve their goal.