Valdosta, GA - September 1, 2011 -
Valdosta State announced its arrival to NCAA Division II soccer with authority as the Blazers, led by Kayla Reid, beat Georgia Southwestern, 6-0. Valdosta State held possession of the ball for nearly the entire match in front of an outstanding first game crowd of 1,577..
The night ended with fireworks at the soccer field, but five Blazers made sure the fireworks started early Thursday night. Fans saw goals from Hannah Mulkey, Shealy Kulp, Emily Gray Powell, Emily Cooper and Reid rounding out the group with two goals.
Valdosta State claimed the only lead it would need in the 17th minute of the game when Cooper found Mulkey for a header on the outside edge of the box. Mulkey just lifted the ball up and over the Georgia Southwestern goalkeeper for the first goal in Valdosta State history.
Later, Kulp shot a rocket from far outside the box for what might end up being one of the most impressive goals of the season. She and Leanne Bishop paced the team in offense Thursday night with both players registering three shots, tied for second on the team behind Reid’s five.
The Blazers took a 2-0 lead into the break and came out firing in the second half. Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Powell pushed the lead to three when she found the ball off a ricocheted cross. The ball rolled her way and put it in the goal to really start to break the game open.
In the early part of the 74th minute, Cooper, who finished with two shots on goal, scored from the outside edge of the box. Georgia Southwestern was desperately trying to clear the ball, but instead gave it to Cooper. She clearly knew what to do with it as she scored VSU’s fourth goal of the night.
With four goals already on the scoreboard, Reid came alive. She came off the bench to put four shots on goal, scoring on two of them. The first was another attempted clear from the Hurricanes, but Reid cut it off in the early part of the 80th minute.
Next, Casey Ponder gained possession on another attempted clear from GSW and found Reid in the middle of the box. Reid put the ball in the bottom left corner of the goal to cap the night off in the 85th minutes.
Valdosta State’s next action will come against Queens at 11 a.m. Monday at the VSU Soccer Complex.