On Senior Day, it was a trio of sophomores who had the tallies in a 3-1 victory over Houston Baptist, which clinched a trip to the Southland Conference for the second consecutive season and third in four years.
NSU (8-7-1 overall, 5-2-1 Southland Conference) had three goals in the span of 22 minutes to take control of the game. The three goals are the most the Lady Demons have scored in a game this season. It is the first win by more than one goal and first game overall that has been by more than one since Sept. 1 Louisaina Tech.
Kalee Williams headed home a shot from in front of the net on a corner kick which hit the corner of the crossbar and bounced in, and the officials ruled it a goal to give NSU the lead.
Jalen Donaldson scored the second goal 13 minutes later on a pass from freshman Olivia Mattsson and Donaldson took the ball up the field and had a clean look at the goal from the near the right side of the box and hit to the left side of the net.
Kiara Padilla got into the fun in the 36th minute when Donaldson took a shot from the right side of the box, and it hit the left post, and caromed directly to Padilla, who sent home the rebound to make it 3-0.
HBU (2-13, 1-7) started strong, generating chances in the first 10 minutes of action, registering three shots. Avery Cortez had shot on goal just over two minutes into the game for the Huskies, but senior Kayla Bomben came up with the save. Two more shots missed their target, and it remained scoreless.
It was scoreless until the 14th minute when Williams headed a shot into the net off a corner kick. It is the second goal for the sophomore in the season. Freshman Rachel Brandt sent in the corner kick, and was credited with the assist. It is her second of the season.
Donaldson entered the game in the 26th minute and wasted no time making an impact. She scored her third goal of the season after a pass by Mattsson gave her a free lane on the right side of the field. Donaldson fired a shot from near the right side of the box, and sent it home to the left side of the net, past a diving Ashtyn Franks.
It is Donaldson’s third of the season, which is second on the team. For Mattsson, it is her third assist, which leads the team.
But Donaldson wasn’t done wreaking havoc, as her shot in the 36th minute set up goal No. 3. She had a nice look at the goal, but her shot hit the left post. Fortunately, it was right place, right time for Padilla, who put home the rebound for her second goal of the season.
“Jalen came out with a little bit of a spark,” co-head coach Jess Jobe said. “She was able to find some space and separate from defenders to get into some dangerous areas. It was a good performance for her.”
The three goals are the most in a half since scoring three against LSU-Alexandria last year. It is the most in a conference contest since scoring four Oct. 23, 2017, against Southeastern Louisiana.
HBU tried to put pressure on NSU in the second half, registering six shots. The Huskies were able to convert in the 80th minute on a shot by Cortez to pull within two.
Shortly after the HBU goal, freshman Jayme Haynes collided with Franks at the top of the box. She had to be carted off, leaving the Lady Demon Soccer Complex in an ambulance.
NSU won the shot battle 10-9, and shots on goal 4-3. Donaldson led the team with three shots, and had an individual season-high three points.
On Senior Day, Bomben stopped two shots and Wheeler played different positions throughout the game, playing 61 minutes in the victory.
The Lady Demons hit the road for their final two road contests in the regular season, against Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana, next weekend before coming back home for the regular season finale Nov. 1 against defending regular season champion Central Arkansas.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services