An own goal in the 50th minute gave the Northwestern State soccer team a 1-0 victory at Southeastern Louisiana Sunday at Strawberry Stadium.
On the goal, Nicole Henry, a sophomore from Tomball, Texas, sent a shot in from outside the box on the right side that bounced a few times and past SLU goalkeeper Sophie Wendt. Players were fighting for it at the goal, but it went off a Lions defender and in for the NSU lead.
NSU (10-7-1 overall, 7-2-1 Southland) completed an unbeaten conference road record for the second time in program history and first time since 1998. Until Sunday, that year was also the last time the Lady Demons won in Hammond.
“We accomplished what we came here to accomplish,” co-head coach Jess Jobe said. “There are things we’d like to clean up before we get into the conference tournament. In the end, we got a big three points against a team that is much better than their record shows.”
Due to UIW’s loss to Stephen F. Austin, NSU is tied for second in the conference with 22 points.
With the loss, SLU (3-13-1, 2-8) has officially been eliminated from conference tournament contention. The Lions have lost two in a row, and four of their conference losses have been by a 1-0 decision.
NSU had the first real chance 13 minutes in when Norma Trejo attempted a shot that was saved by Wendt in the bottom right of the goal, and the rebound caromed to Kalee Williams, whose shot went wide left.
In the 22nd minute, freshman Hallie Field attempted a header, but it went just wide left and the game remained scoreless.
SLU’s best chance in the first half came in the final minute, as Hitomi Komo attempted a shot and the ball did not go in and was stopped by Acelya Aydogmus to keep it scoreless going into the break.
There were no chances until the goal in the second half. Henry came in and sent it on net, and there was a small crowd of players and it went off a Lions defender and into the goal. The lead would hold up.
The Lady Demons defense put the clamps on SLU in the final 45 minutes, holding the Lions shotless.
“In the first half, we were inviting counter attacks,” Jobe said. “At halftime, we made adjustments to limit their chances in the second half and hold them without a shot.”
NSU had a chance to put it up by a pair, as Henry centered it to freshman Kaitlyn Poirrier, but she couldn’t gather it in.
SLU had threats to get a shot away, but the NSU defense rose to the challenge. The Henry twins (Nicole and Natalee) made huge steals to thwart a Lions attack, as did Olivia Mattsson, to preserve the win.
Aydogmus made two saves, giving the sophomore her fourth shutout on the season. The four shutouts tie her for the seventh most shutouts in a season in program history.
She also ties herself with three other players, including teammate Kayla Bomben, for the eighth most shutouts for a career.
The Lady Demons won 9-2 in shots, and 3-2 in shots on goal.
NSU returns to Natchitoches one final time Friday, as the Lady Demons wrap up the regular season against defending regular season champion Central Arkansas. After that, the conference tournament begins in Conway, Ark. Nov. 6.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services