Rival clash leaves women’s soccer with loss

The FAMU women’s soccer club defeated Valdosta State (Ga.) 2-0 Saturday afternoon at the FAMU Intramural fields. Kimya Randolph scored both goals for the Rattlers.

The victory evened the five-game series at two a piece.

“They played great and with a lot of heart,” said FAMU Head Coach Eric Bryant. “We’ve been practicing all week. I couldn’t ask for anything else. It was a great team win.”

After the game, tempers flared. Players from both teams had to be restrained following a game that saw players exchange expletives and elbows.

“I think (both teams) bring out the worst in each other,” Bryant said. “They are so evenly matched. It’s like a cross town rivalry. Every time we play this team it’s a dog fight.”

Valdosta State Head Coach Chad Howell attributed the intense nature of the games to the two teams distance and familiarity with each other.

“They play us to the best of their abilities,” said FAMU Goalkeeper Sihle Wilson, insinuating that both teams bring an extra level of intensity for their matchups.

Wilson made countless saves from point blank range, including one from a penalty shot in the 50th minute.

“We just clicked together,” Wilson said. “I wish we had more games like this.”

Wilson said she liked the way her teammates communicated with each other throughout the game.

Controlled in the midfield the game was scoreless for the first 45 minutes before Randolph’s breakthrough early in the second half.

“That ( goal) made a big difference,” Randolph said.

“That got our momentum going. After we got the first goal, everyone stepped up. Once we got the edge going (we were) aiming for the shutout”

As much as the Rattlers hoped to dominate the game after its first goal, the match was dominated in the midfield, with both teams missing golden opportunities.

In the 75th minute Valdosta had an opportunity to tie the game, but a free kick missed the far left post by 18 inches.

“They’re a good team,” Randolph said.

“It’s always a great game when we play.”

Those in attendance who thought the game could not stomach any more drama were in for more.

Randolph used her left foot after a misplay in the VSU penalty area to place the ball in the side netting for the match’s second goal in the 80th minute.

“That’s a back breaker,” said Howell, referring to Randolph’s second goal. “(When) you get a second goal that close from time, it’s not much you can do about it. I thought (FAMU) played very well, they played the whole game. They were in better shape than us.”

A crowd of nearly 50 people withstood the cold for two hours to watch the first soccer match of the semester for both teams. The women’s team was so appreciative of the enthusiasm from those in attendance, it took the time to recognize them after the match.

“The home field advantage gave us a big advantage,” Bryant said.

“This was (the team’s) best performance,” said Dion Paul, a freshman electronic engineering student and midfielder for the men’s soccer club from Trinidad.

“It’s the start of the best to come for FAMU.”

Contact Will Brown at wwbrown19@yahoo.com.