Senior Alexandria Cannon had seen her share of scoring in her prior roles with the Alabama State women's soccer team.
Shifting full time to the defender position this season, the opportunities to score are a bit trickier and the shots have to come from much further out.
It was no problem for Cannon in Sunday's conference match at Southern.
Cannon took a set piece from about 50 yards away from the goal and send a rocket soaring through the air and over the keeper's head and into the net just before halftime and the Alabama State women's soccer team picked up a huge 2-0 road SWAC win against the Jaguars.
The Lady Hornets (7-9 overall, 4-3 SWAC) found ways to push through a stubborn Southern defense which had not allowed a goal in its prior five matches.
The score was deadlocked at 0-0 throughout most of first half with each team finding an opportunity to shoot here and there.
Then, Cannon created her chance. Taking a few steps back, she boomed the ball with precision to notch her 17th career goal and first of the season. The timing of the goal, which occurred just 30 seconds before halftime, seemed to provide a huge lift to the team's spirits.
"I heard in the back of my ear to 'hit it on frame' from the coaches," Cannon said. "So that was my goal. If it kicked back, then it would give my teammates another shot to put it in. We had opportunities before that, but were called for off sides a lot. I made sure that I had laces down and I tried to strike the ball as far as I could. When you play on the road in conference, it's hard so to come out of here with a win is huge."
ASU took an aggressive approach to begin the second half as Aaliyah Lewis immediately was given a corner kick.
In the 49th minute, Lewis threw in to Kayla Edwards, who was bowled over by a Jaguars' defender. The referee ruled that the Lady Hornets were to be given a penalty kick.
Iita Pienimaki had her named called for the PK and made good by finding the right corner of the net. Lady Jaguars' goalkeeper Sarah Forde couldn't quite get over in time and the ball remained untouched as it brushed against the net. Forde finished with five saves for Southern (4-9-2 overall and 4-1-2 in the SWAC).
Pienimaki scored her fourth career goal and first of the season.
The two goals by ASU marked the fifth consecutive time that the team has scored at least twice.
Kylee Hathaway made five saves to secure her fifth shutout and 17th of her career. Pienimaki, Alena Salsberg, Malinda Smith, and Cannon provided sound defense on the back line all afternoon and made it tough on the Southern offense to get off clean shots on goal.
"Playing defense is what the team needs so I'll do what needs to be done," Cannon added. "I like playing in the back because it can take other teams off guard. The goal definitely lifted us going into the second half. I think we are finally learning and getting our chemistry together. We have nine newcomers so it's about finding ways to mix everybody in. For us to finally get into a rhythm, it is what we needed and what we need to continue to keep doing. "
The Lady Hornets outshot the Lady Jaguars 15-12. ASU was called for off sides 10 times while Southern did not get whistled for it once.
Next, Alabama State will return home for the final three games of the regular season. The Lady Hornets will host Mississippi Valley State on Friday at 7 p.m.