Lady Hornets fall to JSU Gamecocks in home opener



Junior midfielder Isabella Beortegui dribbles the ball down the field during the game between the Hornets and the Gamecocks.

Kendal Manns, Senior Staff Reporter/Writer

The Alabama State University Lady Hornets (0-3) fell to the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks (2-1) in a 5-0 loss in their first home game of the year at the ASU Soccer Complex.
The Lady Hornets are still searching for their win of the season.
The Lady Hornets went into this game with a shakeup in the lineup with freshman forward Madison Chambers moving to midfield and freshman midfielder Camila Jimenez moving upfront. Sophomore midfielder Alexa Delong was also brought into the starting lineup for this game.
The Hornets started the game slow, which has been a trend in all three games this season. They allowed two goals early in the first half, one by Gamecock forward Cynthia Bagozzi and the other due to the ball being just out of reach for the Hornets goalkeeper.
Head coach Jodie Smith spoke about the plays and slow start.
“Definitely the first two goals were mistakes by a young player trying to find her way a little bit … Fair enough you own it and move on,” Smith said.
Those early mistakes would prove costly and would set the tone for the rest of the game. The team would struggle to come back after going down 0-2 early. The Gamecocks would add two more goals in the first half to put them up 4-0.
One of the biggest bright spots for the Lady Hornets is Sheila Sanchez. Sanchez, who earned Goalkeeper of the Week honors, recorded five saves bringing her total on the season to 26.
The team would show some fight in the second half as both teams battled in a scoreless half until Gamecocks freshman forward Nyeemah Beckles scored a goal in the 68th minute.  The Lady Hornets outshot the Gamecocks 13-11, but Jacksonville State shot nine on goal to the Lady Hornet’s five. The Gamecocks also recorded five saves in the game.
There were moments throughout the game where the team was out of sync and not on the same page. The out-of-sync play is due in part to the Hornets’ many new additions. Since winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) title last season, the team has added 11 new players, with many of them being underclassmen.
“When you bring in 11 new players, you’re going to have some growing pains, and I think today was an indicator of that,” Smith said.
He was patient in his demeanor after the game. He understands that integrating that many players will take time.
Another big improvement this team needs to make is with their communication. Players were expecting others to be in different positions, and they were not, which led to a lot of miscommunication.“If the goalkeeper will talk to the defenders, defenders to midfielders, midfielders to forwards and call out who’s where and really talk, you can cut down a lot of problems,” Smith said.
The Lady Hornets will look to regroup and get their first win during their two-game road trip versus Stetson University (August 29) and South Carolina State (September 4)