Not even a lightning storm can stop the Lions Soccer team from taking down their prey. The UNA Soccer team crushed Alabama State University at home on Friday. The 5-1 victory marked UNA’s first ever Division I win.
The Lions took the field to face off against their first Division I opponent, while bleachers packed with fans cheered them on. The cheers increased when junior midfielder Haley Yarber, with an assist from senior forward Kylie Huey, scored UNA’s first ever Division I points within the first five minutes.
“I’m so happy, and surprised, and it just helps so much to set the tone for the rest of the season,” Yarber said.
Seconds later, cheers grew even louder when junior midfielder Shelby Wall scored unassisted to bring the score up to 2-0. Two minutes later, senior defender Audrey Tanner scored her first goal of the season, with an assist from junior midfielder Tay Cavett, bringing the score up to 3-0. Seven minutes after that, bringing the game to only 14 minutes in, Wall scored with an assist from Huey making the score 4-0.
Just after the second half began, a sudden thunderstorm forced the officials to delay the game until the lightning subsided. Almost immediately after the game resumed sophomore forward Madeline Guillen scored off a pass from senior midfielder Margarida Sousa, bringing the score to 5-0 with a half-hour left.
Alabama State managed to score with 13 minutes left, denying UNA a debut shutout.
“I think we played well. We came out really wanting to win, and we played well as a team. I think we were nervous the first few minutes, but once we found our rhythm it was really good,” Cavett said. “I think it’ll definitely carry some momentum, and we’ll look forward to getting some more wins.”
UNA played a heavy offensive game, which kept ASU backed onto their own side of the field with occasional breaks to midfield. UNA made 28 shots on the goal compared to ASU’s five.
“To say there was pressure before the game would be an understatement,” said Head Coach Chris Walker. “We definitely didn’t want to lose the opening [game]. There’s so much hard work that has gone into it. It was a great experience. Credit to Alabama State, they came here and worked hard, but the start we got off to-three goals in eight minutes-it’s hard for any team to stay with.”