With Northwestern State co-head coaches Jess and Anna Jobe in their second seasons, the Lady Demons’ 2019 schedule has kicked it up a notch in competitiveness.
What hasn’t changed is NSU’s home cooking as the Lady Demons play 10 home games including its exhibition in the friendly confines of the Lady Demon Soccer Complex.
The Jobes released their 2019 schedule Tuesday with 10 home games for the second straight season, the most since 2010.
After a home exhibition against Little Rock on Aug. 17, NSU spends the rest of the month on the road with trips to North Texas (Aug. 22), Baylor (Aug. 25) and Grambling (Aug. 30) to start the regular season.
The Lady Demons put a Power 5 member (Baylor) back on the schedule after not playing one in 2018.
“We have more experience in terms of returners in our second year,” said Jess Jobe, who guided NSU to the Southland Conference Tournament in his first year, the second time NSU has made a postseason since 2008. “This was an intentional schedule to challenge us week in and week out because we know what we’ll face in conference play.
“We wanted a non-conference schedule to prepare us for the challenges we’ll see at home and on the road. Mentally, it’ll be great preparation because we’ll have to work for every result and grind out every weekend.”
NSU might have half of its roster (14) as newcomers this coming season, but five upperclassmen have loads of experience along with a bevy of rising sophomores who saw plenty of action in their first season in a 10-10 campaign.
The Lady Demons have their first regular season home game Sept. 1 against Louisiana Tech before hitting the road again at ULM (Sept. 6) and Jackson State (Sept. 8).
NSU closes its non-conference slate with home games against talented Sun Belt Conference foes Texas State (Sept. 13) and UL-Lafayette (Sept. 15).
“There are some good local rivalries on this schedule, ones we feel are very competitive,” Jobe said. “We’ll learn a lot about this team from the early schedule, and we’re excited to play some top competition.
“If we want to be elite and be one of the best teams in the Southland Conference and otherwise, then we have to face some of the best. We’ll learn and grow from it, and this schedule also gives a lot of our Texas natives a chance to play close to home.”
After finishing eighth in the SLC and earning a tournament berth, NSU plays six of its 11 conference matches at home this season.
The Lady Demons open on the road at Stephen F. Austin (Sept. 20) before opening its home swath the following weekend against Lamar (Sept. 27) and McNeese (Sept. 29).
NSU begins October with trips to Abilene Christian (Oct. 4) and Incarnate Word (Oct. 6).
The longest home stand of the season comes next with visits from Sam Houston State (Oct. 11), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Oct. 18) and Houston Baptist (Oct. 20).
“We had a couple of important away wins last year,” Jobe said. “The road is a tough environment, so being at home for an extra conference game this season is a huge advantage.
“Not just physically but mentally — we’re hoping that it pays off. We got a taste of SLC play last season, and every game, every point matters. We’re definitely excited, and we hope to translate that home advantage into bettering positioning and a return trip to the conference tournament.”
NSU wraps up its road conference slate at Nicholls (Oct. 25) and at Southeastern (Oct. 27).
The Lady Demons finish its regular season with its customary match against Central Arkansas, this year at home.
NSU will attempt to punch its ticket to the eight-team SLC Tournament, which takes place Nov. 6-8 at Central Arkansas.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services