Soccer — Northwestern State looking for ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’ at UIW on Sunday

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Northwestern State soccer team is looking for a warm, fuzzy feeling Sunday when they travel to Incarnate Word for an 11 a.m. kickoff.

The Lady Demons (3-7-2, 0-3-1), who are winless in their last five matches (0-4-1), hope that feeling comes in the form of a win.

But the majority of NSU’s 13 Texans will have family and friends cheering in the stands for NSU’s last contest in Texas this season.

NSU has been well represented in the stands in the Lady Demons first three Texas matches of the season, but losses to Texas A&M, SMU and Abilene Christian have kept NSU out of the win column in Texas.

“It’s great to have chances for my family to come and watch me play,” said sophomore forward Esdeina Gonzalez, a Humble, Texas native. “It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling being close to home.

“I try to not let it affect me because the other’s teams fans are trying to mess with us, too. Of course I do hear people supporting me, but I try to block everybody out. My family shows me videos and pictures to let me know they were there.”

Senior forward Shelby Balmer, a Deer Park, Texas, native, will be playing her final regular season match in Texas.

Balmer attempts to block out the crowd, but she can always hear mom Lisa screaming from the stands.

“It picks me up when I’m down, and honestly, I love hearing my family cheering for me,” Balmer said. “When I’m on the field and I know they’re hear, I’ve got to show off and do my best.

“Afterward, I just get to love them and embrace them. I’ve got a lot of family in San Antonio as well, so I’m looking forward to a big cheering section.”

Other Texans include keeper Cadence Starr, keeper Brooke Bourbonais, defender Amy Renteria, defender Ysmina Smith, midfielder Joanna McFarling, midfielder Cayla Klinger, defender Allison Palomo, defender Natalie Pena, midfielder Caylee Kidwell and forward Kayleigh Phillips.

NSU hopes the extra fan support will push the Lady Demons to a win. In the Southland Conference standings, NSU is tied for last with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (0-8-2, 0-3-1).

UIW (3-9, 1-3) is one spot ahead in 10th place as the Cardinals try to push for one of six SLC tournament spots in the 12-team league. Abilene is currently in sixth place with a 2-1-1 league record, six points ahead of NSU.

NSU lost to ACU 2-0 on the road Friday, while UIW fell 2-0 to Central Arkansas. UIW’s lone league win came against Nicholls.