Alabama State hosts Austin Peay for soccer home-season opener

MONTGOMERY, Ala. ( – As the Alabama State women’s soccer team bus pulled back onto campus concluding their road trip from Atlanta with the clock nearing the midnight hour, head coach Jodie Smith told his team that “one game would not define our season” and that they’ll have to look ahead to the next match.

That next match comes quickly for the Lady Hornets (0-1), who will hold Sunday’s home opener against Austin Peay at 1 p.m. from the ASU Soccer Complex.

The game is a rematch from last season in a home-and-home series.

Austin Peay defeated ASU 10-2 last year, but played in the friendly confines of Clarksville, Tenn. where the team ran a record of 7-2 last season.

Away from home, they were 1-8.

The Lady Govs (1-0) are already off to a solid start, coming off a 2-1 victory at UAB up the road in Birmingham on Friday night.

It will be another good test for ASU as Austin Peay features a highly experience group with 19 returners and only four newcomers.

Nicole Wojcik and Kirsten Roberston each scored for the Govs in the victory while Mary Parker Powell and Lindsey Todd split time in net and made two saves.

The teams have already faced a common opponent in the early goings of the 2016 season.

The Lady Govs faced Georgia State, ASU’s opponent on Friday, and fought to a 1-1 tie in an exhibition last Sunday.

“I think we look like we’re going to be a lot better team this season,” Smith said.

“We have to keep the good things in mind that we did last night. I was encouraged by our play on Friday. Obviously, there are some things that we need to work on. But, we did a lot of nice things. If we can eliminate some of those giveaways and errors that we made, we’ll be fine. Sometimes, we were their (our opponent’s) best player.”

One of the biggest questions heading into the season was how ASU’s defensive back line would hold with new faces inserted into the lineup.

But, players such as freshmen Alanna Manning and Mercedes Padilla provided a valiant effort.

“I thought they played extremely well and our goalkeeper did well,” Smith said.

“We were under a little bit too much pressure. But, I was very encouraged by the performances of our new players. “We’re going to have our opportunities.”