The Valdosta Daily Times
Mel Heinz wasn’t pleased with her team when speaking with media Sunday afternoon.
In fact, the Valdosta State women’s soccer coach was visibly upset following the Blazers’ 3-0 loss to third-ranked West Florida.
“I’m angry,” Heinz said. “(West Florida) is a terrific team, I’ll say that and everybody knows that. That’s fine that they can be a terrific team. What frustrates me is that we’ve got over half our players busting their butts out there and we’ve got a couple players that don’t want to do what they need to do. It angers me.
“You have to have all 11 players, all 11 have to be on. Don’t get me wrong, we had some players put every ounce of their being on the field today.”
With the loss on Sunday and North Alabama’s rout of Delta State, the Blazers failed to secure the second seed in the Gulf South Conference and lost a bye for the first round of the conference tournament. Now, the Blazers will act as the three seed in the tournament and will be forced to play in the opening round on Thursday, instead of sitting back and watching.
“I’ve been there with a team that has had to play three teams in the conference tournament,” Heinz said. “The only thing was everyone had to play three teams and not just sit and watch. I think it is a tough hill to be climbed, but it isn’t a hill that can’t be climbed. We have to put our head down and we have to dig and that is what we are going to do.”
The Blazers will wait to find out who their opponent for Thursday’s conference opener will be when the complete tournament field is announced on Monday.
Valdosta State entered Sunday looking to be aggressive towards the goal, something Heinz has criticized her team for doing enough this season. Although Heinz said she liked the aggressive play by many of her players, it was West Florida that proved to be more of the aggressor.
The Argonauts scored three goals on 29 shots and attacked the VSU defense throughout the afternoon. Valdosta State managed no goals and just 12 total shots and was shutout by West Florida for the second time this season.
It was the Argonauts sixth straight shutout this season.
West Florida got onto the scoreboard in the 36th minute when Tori Fish scored from inside the box. The play started on a free kick by Chelsea Palmer, who kicked it to Taylor Harbinson, who in return passed the ball to Fish for the goal.
Less than 30 seconds later, the Blazers nearly got even with a goal of their own. Unfortunately, Abbi Edwards’ shot bounced off the crossbar and West Florida cleared the ball away.
“I think we battled, we really did,” Heinz said. “After they scored on us, we went right back in 15 seconds and pinged the crossbar. So we have the capability, they just have to believe it in the game.”
The Argonauts added to their lead in the 87th minute with Fish’s second goal of the game, this time on an assist from Monica Malavassi. A minute later, the Argonauts iced the game with a third goal, an unassisted free kick from Shelby Bush.
“I think every game is a learning point,” Heinz said.
“I think later on I will realize that. At this point, you have to do what you are taught to do. But I don’t want to take away from this game. I am more frustrated that it wasn’t a 3-0 game, clearly, but it says that on the scoreboard. It is frustrating that we had too many players out their busting their butt for that score to be out there on that scoreboard.”