JACKSON, Miss. – Northwestern State soccer coach George Van Linder says he has a new problem to address in his program after the Lady Demons tied LSU 1-1 on Tuesday.
Van Linder must teach his team how to deal with success, and that starts with Sunday’s road trip to Jackson State for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
NSU (1-1-1) will be facing one of the best programs in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the Lady Tigers, who beat LSU-Alexandria 3-1 in its last match to improve to 1-1-1. The Lady Demons topped LSU-A 4-1 in the opener.
“We haven’t had to worry about handling (success) and to build on it, so that’s a great problem to have,” Van Linder said. “Our players have the ability to do big things against big-time programs.
“I think that the coaches believed it for a while, but the players are believing that more and more. We’re talking about our legacy and what we want to do, and we have to approach every game like its LSU or Texas A&M.”
The Lady Demons held the now-No. 4 Aggies to a scoreless final 60 minutes in a 3-0 loss.
Jackson State has a notable result on its resume as well, knotting Southern Miss 1-1 after getting drubbed by the Golden Eagles 5-0 in 2014.
NSU freshman Kayleigh Phillips is third in the Southland Conference with five points (two goals, one assist), including the game-tying goal against LSU to send it to overtime in the 83rd minute.
Phillips is the second-best freshman statistically, trailing Lamar’s Jordan Mulnix (six points). Senior Cassandra Briscoe has taken the most shots (six) and shots on goal (three) on the team.
The goalkeeper position has turned from a battle to more of a partnership.
Senior Brooke Bourbonais has started the first half of all three games, while sophomore Alex Latham played the second half and overtimes this season.
Both keepers have scoreless halves against Southeastern Conference opponents. Bourbonais held LSU scoreless in the first half, and Latham’s perfect half came in the second session against Texas A&M
“We think we have the best tandem of keepers in the conference,” Van Linder said.
For Jackson State, Jalana Ellis and Jessica Blair recorded their first goals of the season in the 3-1 win against LSU-A.
NSU is playing its third straight road game with trips to ULM on Friday and UL Lafayette on Sunday before returning home to face Alcorn State on Sept. 8.