The Northwestern State soccer team aims to build on a successful road weekend when it welcomes Sam Houston State to the Lady Demon Soccer Complex Friday. The game begins at 7 p.m.
NSU (6-6-1 overall, 3-1-1 Southland) tries to get over the .500 mark for the first time this season against the Bearkats. The Lady Demons are coming off an exhilarating 2-1 overtime victory at UIW. Overall, they are 6-1-1 in their last eight.
The last nine Lady Demons contests have been decided by one goal or fewer. This past weekend, they tied league-leading Abilene Christian Friday before handing UIW its first conference loss of the season, as freshman Olivia Draguicevich sent home a shot less than three minutes into the extra session to give them the victory.
NSU improved its record to 3-0-1 in its four overtime contests, and 2-0-1 on the road in conference play.
SHSU (4-6-1, 2-1-1) lost its first conference match of the season Sunday, dropping a 5-0 decision at Lamar after going through the first three unbeaten.
Draguicevich leads the team in goals (5) and points (10) after her game-winner at UIW. Her three game-winning goals this season is one shy of the school record for game-winners in a season.
With her early goal against UIW, sophomore forward Jalen Donaldson has five points on the year, which is second on the team. She also leads the Lady Demons in both shots (26) and shots on goal (14). Defender Natalee Henry is tied with Donaldson with two goals.
Draguicevich, as well as fellow freshman Rachel Brandt, give the Lady Demons a strong pairing off the bench.
“We’ve been talking since day one that this will be one of the strengths of this team,” co-head Jess Jobe said. “We were really excited to see how some pieces came together. We saw the competitiveness for spots and for playing time and for playing time and we think that’s a really healthy thing.”
Coming off the bench is something Draguicevich knows the value of.
“It can be helpful to come off the bench because you can see the rhythm of the game before stepping in,” Draguicevich said. “You can see how the game is flowing and see what else you can do to impact the game when I do go in.”
Freshmen Olivia Mattsson and Jayme Haynes are tied for the team lead in assists with two.
On defense, NSU has had contributions from everyone. There have been two Lady Demons to earn Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors, Hallie Field and Natalee Henry.
Over the weekend, junior Ashley Medawattage helped thwart the opposition’s attack to help earn the four-point weekend. On Friday, the ball got past Bomben late in the game, but Medawattage booted the ball over the crossbar and out of harms way. On Sunday, she stopped an attack and helped keep the Lady Demons in front in the first half.
Senior Kayla Bomben was the goalkeeper in both games over the weekend, and was tremendous. Her 12 saves at Abilene Christian were tied for the 10th most in school history for a single game. She followed that with allowing just one against UIW.
“We work in practice with our defense to see what the other team does attacking-wise,” Bomben said. “The shots I stop, I credit them to the defense in front of me to make those saves and make it pretty predictable where the shots are going.”
She has played in seven matches, starting five. Bomben has allowed just seven goals in more than 554 minutes for a goals against average of 1.14. She has one shutout against Jackson State.
Sophomore Acelya Aydogmus has played really well this season too, especially her past six games. Aydogmus has two shutouts this season, including the first conference match at Stephen F. Austin. She has allowed just two goals in her last four games, with all four being NSU victories.
Four players for the Bearkats have at least two goals, led by Sammi Mayock with three. Courtney Pawlik leads the team with seven points.
They have played two goalies this season, Abby DeLozier and Tatum Krueger. The latter started in the win against reigning conference champion Central Arkansas and relieved DeLozier in the loss to Lamar. In the other two conference games against Houston Baptist and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, she allowed a combined two goals in a combined 200 minutes.
Admission is free thanks to the sponsorship of the Louisiana Army National Guard.
This is the first of a three-match homestand, as the Lady Demons have two matches at home next weekend against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Houston Baptist.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services