Pushing hard down the finish line, the Alabama State women's soccer team found a new way to win in their previous match on the road against Southern University with a 2-0 triumph in Baton Rouge, La, at A.W. Mumford Stadium last Sunday.
The Lady Hornets (7-9 overall, 4-3 SWAC) were lifted by a pair of seniors. The powerful leg of Alexandria Cannon and the focused shot from Iita Pienimaki did the trick as each scored and Kylee Hathaway picked up her fifth shutout in another huge conference victory.
ASU now turns its attention to a weekend home stand that begins on Friday at 7 p.m. against SWAC opponent Mississippi Valley State. Alabama State defeated the Devilettes 2-1 in last year's lone meeting between the schools on the strength of a two-goal effort from Ariela Lewis. Twin sister Aaliyah Lewis assisted on one of those scores in what ended up being the difference.
Both ASU and MVSU are situated toward the middle of the conference standings with the Lady Hornets currently sitting in fifth place and the Devilettes holding up in seventh place.
The Devilettes (2-9-3 overall, 2-2-3 SWAC) are coming off two dominating performances with back-to-back 5-1 wins versus Arkansas Pine-Bluff and Grambling State.
"We are playing a Valley team that is starting to have a little success so it is going to be a difficult game for us," said ASU coach Jodie Smith. "They have a new coach [N. Fabio Boateng] this season. They've changed some of their alignments and are playing to their strengths."
Scarborough, Ontario native Nykosi Simmons has been striking the ball very well of late, with four goals and four assists in her last three matches. Simmons leads the team with seven goals on 32 shots. Freshman Heather Craddock has also given the Devilettes a shot in the arm with nine of her 10 points coming in the last three matches. Senior midfielder Hailey Beekman is third in line for scoring with three goals and two assists.
The Lady Hornets, winners of four straight, have collected multiple goals in each of the last five matches. Aaliyah Lewis leads ASU with 12 goals and six assists while Shelbi Vienna-Hallam is second on the team with 13 points (three goals, seven assists).
"We are starting to find our rhythm," coach Smith said. "We've played really well at home [3-1 this season]. We're not making the mental mistakes that we were making earlier in the year. You want all your players involved in the game and we are starting to have a lot of players making positive contributions."
Live tweets with updates during the match can be found on https://twitter.com/ASUBUZZ. Live stats can be followed on http://www.sidearmstats.com/alasu/wsoc/