After combatting a 30-minute lighting delay, Valdosta State Women’s Soccer team took on even more adversity on the pitch Friday night. Having the game go into overtime, the Blazers overcame it, coming out victorious over division rival Alabama-Huntsville to the score of 1-0.
Both teams struggled to find any headway during regulation – tight defense was the tune throughout the game, with exceptional play and great saves by goalkeepers, including one in particular by Lady Blazer’s sophomore goalie Caroline Embler late in the second period.
Multiple players saw opportunities to score, with six different Lady Blazers taking shots during the game. Heading into overtime the Blazers amped up the aggression, keeping the ball in the attacking third of the field, and provided lots of chances off corner kicks with six overall.
When the game when into overtime, Coach Stephen Andrew wanted to see effort and execution.
“We wanted to put the ball in their half and play in their half,” Andrew said. “I think that’s how we were able to score a minute or two in, that came from pressing them on their end and going into our set piece, I thought we should have taken care of business in the 90 minutes.”
The winning goal came in the 92nd minute of play off a header by junior forward Ashley Lewis.
She was determined to carry out coach’s game plan to deliver on her chances to put the game away.
“Being more clinical in front of goal and finishing on chances we had close to twenty shots and we only scored one but we were working hard,” Lewis said. “He just said to go out there and win a game.”
Getting this game notching goal was extra sweet for Lewis. Not only is this marked as her seventh goal of the season, it also put her in the VSU record book for career goals scored.
Currently sitting at sixteen and still early in the season, she has a chance to shatter that record. To go along with the record, she got some praise from Coach Andrew after the game.
“Ashley, she’s probably one of the best female persons I’ve ever seen heading the ball. It’s a great header and it wins the game,” Andrew said.
The Lady Blazers are looking to take elements from this hard fought game into this weekend to bolster their confidence. They’ll look to ride the momentum of the win to their next conference game against the West Alabama Tigers Sunday at 1pm.
The Lady Blazers will look to improve to 5-1 in the conference and 6-4 on the season.
Written by Cecil Merkerson, Staff Writer. Photo by Taylor Sutherland, Photo Editor.
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