It’s been a turbulent 2015 season for the Clayton State Women’s Soccer Team. The Lakers currently sit a somewhat disappointing 6th in the Peach Belt Conference, with their 8-5 (4-3 PBC) record. While there have been some impressive victories along the way, the Lady Lakers have only managed to maintain two game win streaks this season; they have struggled to find any sort of rhythm in their results. However, after an impressive midweek, overtime victory against the previously unbeaten No. 3 North Georgia, the Lakers now have an opportunity to get their season back on track.
The prospects for the 2015 season had looked particularly bright for the Lakes after a notable, unbeaten preseason. Most remarkably, the Peach Belt side tied Division I Kennesaw State live on ESPN 3 after taking the Owls to overtime. This form seemed to be carrying on in the regular season, with a competent 3-1 victory in Tennessee against Union. However, the Lakers would face their first defeat in Memphis at the hands of a strong Christian Brothers University; CBU had reached the NCAA Tournament in 2014. The Lakers went on to pick up two wins on the trot against West Georgia and Queens, but would taste defeat for a second time in September against Valdosta State University. Peach Belt competition began with success against Flagler, with a 1-0 win on a nearly unplayable, waterlogged field. This game was followed by a convincing 5-0 victory against current D1 School Francis Marion. Defeat number three against UNC Pembroke was particularly painful, the Lakers losing 3-1 on their home field. While victories against Montevallo and rivals Armstrong State kept the Lakers in contention, two more losses against Georgia College and Lander really hit CSU hard.
Yet, all hope was not lost. The Lakers were well aware on Wednesday night that every game left was a “must win”. Opponents, on paper, do not come much tougher than North Georgia, ranked third in the nation. It would take everything Clayton State could give; that was exactly what they offered. The Lakers upped their play against the Nighthawks, playing some of their best soccer of the season. The 2-1 overtime victory, after two fantastic goals from Maria Marti Bartis and Rachael Schmidt, was exactly what they needed. The atmosphere among the team was incredible. There was belief. The season was not over. All hope was not lost.
The Lakers are well aware of the challenges they face for the remainder of the season. They know they must all come together now if they are to progress. The team has enough talent, spirit and potential to really finish off the season strong. It is a matter of finding some consistency in their form to enable them to really show the Peach Belt what the Clayton State Lakers are about. Watch this space!