VALDOSTA –– Valdosta State soccer opened their season against Clayton State last night in a rough 2-1 loss.

The Blazers started off hot with a goal from Kyleigh Reedy within the first 8 minutes of the game and momentum was on their side early.

As the first half continued the pounding Valdosta heat was almost unbearable to take as a fan and was visibly taking a toll on the players. The weather took no prisoners as it was a muggy 90 degrees outside when the game begun. 

Clayton State started to get in a groove and answered with a goal of their own in the 29th minute to tie the game, and kept the Blazers on their heels defensively from that point on.

Just six minutes later, Clayton State forced a turnover and capitalized with another goal to take a 2-1 lead with about ten minutes left in the half. 

The two goals allowed and relentless heat continued to wear down the Blazers and their play began to flatten out.

“I think we were just fatigued,” Valdosta State head coach Stephen Andrew said about how his team performed in the latter parts of the game. “Obviously in the earlier games of the season no one is really game fit… I thought we started great for the first 15 and then you could tell we didn’t have the game fitness and didn’t manage the game, so hopefully we’ll learn from it. We’ve got a week to prepare things for two tough games next weekend up in North Georgia.”

Clayton State had the advantage of playing at least one game before facing VSU, while the Blazers’ first scheduled game was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian.

The second half saw more of Clayton State on the attack, restricting the Blazers from setting up their offense for a comeback. VSU’s defenders and goalkeeper had a busy night as Clayton kept possession for most of the game, attempting 16 shots with 10 on goal.

“I think we just need to work on staying switched on defensively and find a way to create more in the attacking third,” said VSU defender Zhanee Anderson.

Now 0-1 to start the season, Valdosta State will look to turn things around this week as they head to Dahlonega, Ga., to play North Georgia on Friday, Sept. 13.

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