It will be a homecoming for co-head coach Jess Jobe and freshman midfielder Rachel Brandt, as the Northwestern State soccer team opens its regular season Thursday at North Texas – Denton, Texas.
The contest begins at 7 p.m.
Jobe grew up in Denton, living there throughout most of his childhood. He calls the city his hometown and first paid coaching job was at North Texas under Coach (John) Hedlund. Jobe spent one season there as the goalkeeper coach in 2010, and under his tutelage, they just allowed just 17 goals in 21 matches, posting a .78 goals against average and nine shutouts. UNT went 12-7-1 and 7-3-1 in the Sun Belt Conference.
“This game has significant meaning to me and my coaching journey,” Jobe said. “Coach Hedlund gave me an opportunity to be a part of his staff, and obviously I hold that experience very close. It’s really exciting to be back and competing against a program that has such a great tradition of winning and excellence.”
Jobe is not the only Lady Demons player or coach to be coming home for this match. Brandt, a Denton native, was an All-District player for Guyer High School in the city. Her family and friends will be in attendance for the contest.
“I am really excited to play North Texas,” Brandt said. “I’ve grown up around them and they are a really good program, so I’m excited.”
Graduate assistant Kyle Jobe played at Dallas Baptist when Jess Jobe was on the coaching staff for the women’s soccer team. He also coached with the current NSU co-head coach with a Dallas U13 team. He will return close to where he played college soccer.
The match against the Mean Green begins a difficult start to the season, with North Texas and Baylor both making the NCAA Tournament last year, with the latter reaching the Regional Final. Grambling is also coming off a successful 14-8 season, so the Lady Demons will be tested right off the bat.
“The tough starting schedule is not an accident,” Jess Jobe said. “We want to be playing the best opponents we can find to match up against. It will prepare us. We need to be stretched. We need weaknesses to be exposed and we need to find the strengths of our team. We want to find those things out and great opponents are going to do that for us.”
This is the first regular season game for each team. North Texas fell to No. 18 South Florida 2-0 and tied Central Florida in its two exhibitions. The teams last met in 2007 in Natchitoches, a match in which North Texas won 2-1.
There is a battle at goalkeeper between sophomore transfer Acelya Aydogmus and senior Kayla Bomben. Aydogmus played the first half against Little Rock last Saturday and did not face a shot, while Bomben allowed one goal and had an impressive save in the 3-1 victory in the exhibition.
In front of the goalkeepers, the defense did not let Little Rock get good looks at the Lady Demon net, as the Trojans only registered five shots with two being on net.
NSU proved it can create chances in the exhibition and put it into the back of the net, as freshman Olivia Draguicevich and sophomore Jalen Donaldson each tallied goals in the win, and Donaldson and freshman Olivia Mattsson dished out assists.
Following the trip to Denton, the Lady Demons head to Waco for a date with Baylor Sunday. They begin the season with thee consecutive games away from Natchitoches before Louisiana Tech comes in for the home opener.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services