VALDOSTA, GA – With one month remaining until the Valdosta State soccer team starts anew under the leadership of Head Coach Rebecca Nolin, the Blazers received a nod of respect from coaches throughout the Gulf South Conference this week with two players named to the preseason All-GSC team and a projection as second place finishers for the 2014 season.
Defensive standout Deysla Reyes joined Blazer keeper Olivia Mills as two of eleven members voted on to represent the 2014 All-GSC team.
Outstanding numbers by Reyes last season caught the eye of coaches throughout the league, as the San Juan native racked up four goals and blasted 11 shots on goal while serving as a steady presence as a defender in each of the Blazers’ 17 contests on the year. The upcoming senior was honored at the end of the 2013 campaign as one of five Blazers to recieve All-GSC honors.
Meanwhile, Mills was a force at the keeper position in 2013 with over 1600 minutes played, six shutouts, and a save percentage of .783 during her junior campaign. Mills has represented the Blazers as the squad’s primary keeper since the program began in 2011. Her career stats include a 31-15 record, nearly 200 saves, a .754 save percentage, and 23 shutouts. As one of the team captains, Mills will look to make the most of her senior season in 2014 by adding on to a host of career honors that include three GSC Defensive Player of the Week awards, an All-GSC selection in 2012, and an All-GSC Tournament selection for her performance as a freshman in the 2011 GSC Tournament.
In a preseason poll voted on by coaches throughout the GSC, the Blazers received one first place vote, four second place votes, two third place votes and two fourth place votes for a total of 67 points. Valdosta State finished second behind the defending GSC-Champion Argonauts of West Florida, who received nine first place votes in the poll. West Florida enters the 2014 season favorite after a return trip to the Division II National Championship match, where the squad fell just short of their second straight national title.
Christian Brothers was projected to finish closely behind VSU in third place with 66 points, while West Alabama received 54 points in the poll to fall into the fourth place position. The North Alabama Lions found themselves in the fifth slot after receiving two third place votes, three fourth place votes, two fifth place votes and two sixth place votes for a total of 50 points.
Officially entering the Gulf South Conference this season, the Union Bulldogs secured a spot as the projected sixth place finishers with 40 points, while Alabama-Huntsville earned 33 points as a projected seventh place team in the 2014 regular season.
Rounding out the bottom three in the poll were West Georgia with 28 points, Shorter with 16 points, and the Delta State Lady Statesmen, who claimed 15 points.
The Blazers look to follow up a 9-5-3 2013 campaign in which the program made its second straight appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament as a participant in the South Regional. With Nolin now at the helm, VSU will return this season with a veteran squad that features 20 returnees, 12 of which are seniors. The team will report and take the field next week as they aim for a return trip to NCAA postseason play in 2014.
Tickets for the 2014 season are available now and can be purchased in the Blazer Athletic office located in The Complex, online at www.vstateblazers.com, or by phone at 229-333-SEAT (7328). The Blazers begin the upcoming campaign with three road matches before returning to Valdosta to begin conference play with a September 19 home opener against Christian Brothers.
Source: Valdosta State University Athletics