By Jonathon Zenk, NSU Sports Information Graduate Assistant
Competitiveness was one of the biggest themes for Northwestern State co-head soccer coach Jess Jobe during Fall Media Day Wednesday.
“In my opinion, there has been a tremendous increase in competitive spirit,” Jobe said. “I think the last couple days of practices have already showed a great deal of competition and willingness to compete.
That’s something we want to engage more in on a regular basis and that’s going to be a big focus for us this preseason.”
Co-head coaches Jess and Anna Jobe led the Lady Demons to their second Southland Conference Tournament appearance in three years after not making it since 2008. For Jess Jobe, it’s all about improvement in year two.
“For year two, it’s all about improvement,” Jess Jobe said. “We took a huge step forward last year and felt very proud about what we accomplished. This year, it’s about continuing to take steps forward and continuing to improve.”
After having 13 freshmen in year one of the Jess and Anna Jobe era, they added 14 more newcomers this season. Of the 28 players on this year’s roster, 14 of them are new, and 13 of those are freshmen.
The team only has a combined five juniors and seniors. But junior defender Ashley Medawattage knows the newcomers can blend in with the core, and the team may be young, but certainly not inexperienced.
“We look really young on paper, but many of our 13 freshmen from last year got significant minutes and a lot of experience,” Medawattage said. “(The newcomers) are going to push us and we’re going to push them.”
Along the defense, the Lady Demons return senior goalkeeper Kayla Bomben, who anchors a strong defensive unit. Northwestern State returns three starting defenders: Medawattage, Kalee Williams and Nicole Henry, who led the team in minutes.
Bomben knows the importance of having an experienced back line in front of here to help prevent shots going toward her.
“It’s important for us as a backline to know each other and trust each other,” Bomben said. “I’ve been lucky to watch them grow as players and people, so I have total confidence in them. Going through a whole season with them, I think we found each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
The Lady Demons open with an exhibition contest against Little Rock Aug. 17, before beginning the regular season Aug. 22 at North Texas. Their first regular season home match is Sept. 1 against in-state rival Louisiana Tech.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services