Lady Hornets’ weekend SWAC matches

MONTGOMERY, Ala. ( – The Alabama State women’s soccer team gets back into action at home for two important conference matches this weekend.

First up for Alabama State (2-9 overall, 1-2 SWAC) will be Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-5-1 overall, 3-0-1 SWAC) on Friday at 7 p.m. followed by a match up with Grambling State (1-5 overall, 1-3 SWAC) on Sunday at 1 p.m. from the ASU Soccer Complex.

“We’ve been playing better every week,” said ASU head coach Jodie Smith.

“More importantly, if we have our [usual starting] 11 out there with key personnel—then I really think at the end of the season, we’ll be right in the mix again.”

The twins—Aaliyah Lewis and Ariela Lewis— both missed last season’s match up in a 2-1 defeat at UAPB.

Friday offers a chance to get in some payback and a chance for the twins to be back on the field together.

Ar. Lewis, the conference’s leading scorer, has missed the previous two matches due to injury.

Expectations are optimistic that she’ll be able to make her return to the field on Friday.

The Lady Hornets defeated the Tigers 1-0 in last season’s match in Louisiana behind the strength of a Kayla Edwards winning goal in the first half.

“Kayla has moved to outside back,” Smith said.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get her on the attack.  If we can do a good job of holding onto the ball, we can find our defenders getting forward in the attack.  The more that we can do that, then the more successful that we’ll be.”

Players to watch

UAPB sophomore Rebecca Holmes is off to strong start with four goals and an assist to lead the Golden Lions in scoring.

Holmes had had success against ASU in the past as well with a goal and an assist in last season’s match against the Hornets in Pine Bluff.

Grambling goalkeeper Jennifer LeSage has been busy thus far in conference play as she leads the SWAC in saves per match (9.00) in her two starts and ranks second in SWAC only matches for total saves with 18.

Who’s hot

Lady Hornets’ striker Aaliyah Lewis has upped her production in recent matches, recording four goals and two assists over her past five matches.

Aa. Lewis scored a slick goal in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat against Howard and also provided the game-winning goal at Prairie View A&M on Sept 23.

She has also taken 10 of her season’s 15 shots on goal during this stretch of time.

“For us essentially missing Ariela [Lewis] the past couple of games, she’s [Aaliyah Lewis] been able to toe the line and be that presence offensively,” Smith said.

“Moving forward, we’ll need her to keep that momentum and confidence going.  When they get into form, you’d like to keep them going.  And, obviously get Ariela back and Lexi [Krieger] and Inma [Martinez] back on the score sheet.”