Lady Hornets Kick-Start Season At Georgia State

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Aug. 19, 2016 at 9:51 AM CDT
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The new school year has arrived as the Alabama State women’s soccer season will kick-start the 2016 fall sports season by being the first ASU athletic program to enter regular season competition for the new academic year.

The Lady Hornets (9-11-1 overall, 7-3 SWAC in 2015) return seven starters and 12 letter winners for a team that advanced an additional playoff round further from the prior season.

After an appearance in the 2014 SWAC Tournament semifinals against Prairie View A&M, the Lady Hornets were a razor-thin 2-1 defeat to Howard in the title match from realizing their season-long aspiration of bringing championship gold to Montgomery in 2015.

Patrolling the sidelines in pursuit of that goal will be head coach Jodie Smith (149 career collegiate victories), who is entering his 10th season with the program.

The journey begins on Friday 6 p.m. (CT) at Georgia State.

ASU faces a tested Panthers team that finished 11-6-4 last season including 4-4-1 in the competitive Sun Belt Conference.

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Optimism remains high for this year’s edition of the Lady Hornets.

“We have the largest roster in the program history,” Smith said.

“There’s a lot of depth and versatility here. We played three intra-squad games this preseason, moved people around and saw different things. We showed a lot of good strengths and showed that we have a learning curve that we need to work on. I think the newer players will have get up to the speed of the college game. We have to be patient with our new players and find their strengths and weaknesses so they can best help the team. But I think that we got a good look on everybody from the exhibition play.”

New to the team this season will be junior transfers Lexi Krieger and Inma Martinez and freshmen Lauren Camp, Mercedes Padilla, Kaitlyn Farrar, Janeece Ader, Meaghan Fielding, Alanna Manning, Emily LaRue, Britanee Harris and Jacklyn Watson.

Team culture has been an area of focus for coach Smith. He said that the team’s interactions before, during and after practices has been positive as the new players have bought into the idea of encouraging, supporting, and getting to know each other better.

It will be that stick together mentality that Smith hopes will rub off in Friday’s match against the Panthers.

“We expect to perform and give ourselves a chance to win,” Smith said. “The key for us is to limit our mistakes. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that we have. We played well against them last season for a stretch, but let it get away from us.”