The Valdosta Daily Times
In a rematch of the 2011 Gulf South Conference Championship, both North Alabama and Valdosta State put on a show for Blazer fans at the VSU Soccer Complex Friday night. Unfortunately for VSU, No. 22 North Alabama was able to secure the win with a goal in the 78th minute of the match to win, 4-3. The Blazers fall to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in Gulf South Conference play while North Alabama improves to the same records.
The Blazers actually seemed in control for most of the match, scoring three go ahead goals. Rebecca Miller started the scoring with an unassisted goal in the 13th minute. Emily Cooper sent a shot off the crossbar on a free kick. Miller corralled the rebound and slipped it past the North Alabama goalkeeper.
North Alabama’s Chloe Richards answered just four minutes later when Jo Chubb set her up for the finish. Chubb sent a cross over the face of the goal and Richards finished it on the left side to tie the match.
After that, it looked to be Valdosta State’s day when Abbi Edwards put in a beautiful goal from just inside the box. Edwards shook her UNA defender and fired from the outside right corner of the box past keeper Schyler Arnold to put VSU ahead, 2-1.
The Lions, proving to be resilient was able to tie the match before the half. In the 28th minute Melanie Leonida was the lucky Lion to finish with a goal after a scrum at the net on a corner kick.
Valdosta State’s Hannah Mulkey was the next Blazer to put VSU ahead. Leanne Bishop put a ball to the left side of the box where Mulkey was wide open. She didn’t have a great angle but fired into the keeper anyway. The new UNA keeper, Lauren Middleton, bobbled the ball into the net to give the Blazers a 3-2 advantage.
That would be the last time Valdosta State led in the match.
In the 69th minute, Richards scored again. Chubb made an excellent pass ahead to Richards who finished the one-on-one against VSU goalkeeper Olivia Mills.
With the match tied, both teams ratcheted up the aggressiveness, but it only paid off for UNA. Chubb made her third assist of the match, this one to Abbey Hellem, who corralled the cross from Chubb and finished in the left side of the goal.
Despite multiple attempts and a few late opportunities on corner kicks, the Blazers could not sneak in another goal before regulation ended.
Valdosta State will look to jump back on track with a road match against Montevallo Sunday at 1 p.m. and then will continue conference play with at West Georgia Thursday at 6 p.m. Valdosta State will return home to host Anderson at 7 p.m. Oct. 2.