Faulkner; Gardner-Webb prep for the Hornets’ pitch this weekend

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (bamastatesports.com) – The Alabama State women’s soccer team will continue their home stand with matches against cross-town neighbors Faulkner University (3-3-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. and follow with a Sunday 1 p.m. match against Gardner Webb (2-5-2) at 1 p.m.

Alabama State (0-6) has inched closer to victory over its last three times out on the field, losing by a single goal twice at North Florida and versus Lipscomb and played to a 2-2 tie before lightning cancelled Sunday’s home match against Jacksonville State.

“We’re starting to get effort for 90 minutes,” said ASU head coach Jodie Smith.

“And, that’s really the first indication that players are buying in and we’re starting to understand some things. We didn’t really have as many mental lapses where we lost our focus and lost our way for a little bit. Against Lipscomb, we were in it for 90 minutes. I challenged them before the game that we would have to have 90 minutes in order to be successful. We did that. It was an unfortunate call at the end, but not disappointed in our effort and our play.”

Despite not being an official result, the effort was a bit similar during Sunday’s match against Jacksonville State.

“On Sunday, we kept answering the bell,” Smith added.

“We got up early and they tied it and we went up again. I thought it was a really good battle back and forth especially in dealing with a little adversity from the weather delays. This last weekend, I was really pleased and I’m hoping this will give us a little momentum heading into the weekend and before conference play starts next week.”

ASU and Faulkner last played in an exhibition match on August 16, 2014 with the Lady Eagles defeating the Lady Hornets 2-0.

Only five players from ASU’s current roster were active for the last time the teams met (Aaliyah Lewis, Ariela Lewis, Candice Mitchell, Zaria Maynard and Kayla Edwards).

On Sunday, it will be a first-time meeting between Alabama State and Gardner Webb.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs will have six days off for the match as it last played on Sunday in a 4-0 defeat at N.C. State.

Players to watch

Faulkner junior forward Kayla Wilson leads the Lady Eagles with six goals in seven matches including one game-winner.

The Palm Bay, Fla. native racked up a hat trick in a 4-1 victory against Life University earlier this season.

Gardner Webb senior Brandi Arey leads the Runnin’ Bulldogs in shots (31), shots on goal (17), goals (four) and game-winning goals (two).

The Huntersville, N.C. native was recently named the women’s soccer student-athlete of the month.

Feels like the first time

Lady Hornets’ freshman Mercedes Padilla added her first Southwestern Athletic Conference weekly award to her resume by being named the SWAC Defensive Player of the Week for play from September 5-11.

The Norwalk, Calif. native drew a difficult match up with the majority of her coverage against Lipscomb top scorer Olivia Doak.

Doak had entered the match with six goals in the team’s first six games including both in a 2-0 victory against Vanderbilt earlier in the season.

Doak was held without a point in last Friday’s match as Padilla was able to stay in front of her and spoil other scoring opportunities inside ASU’s zone by heading the ball away or by breaking up the pass.

Save it

ASU sophomore Gianna Guyot picked up her second career weekly SWAC award after being named the Goalkeeper of the Week.

Guyot had last accomplished the feat on October 14, 2015.

The Costa Mesa, Calif. native made three saves against Lipscomb (6-1-1) last Friday and only allowed one goal on a penalty kick that deflected off the crossbar.

Currently, Guyot has 155 career saves in 23 games played at Alabama State.