TULSA, Oklahoma – Despite a number of unique offseason challenges faced by the Northwestern State soccer team, the Lady Demons take to the pitch in Tulsa on Thursday evening with renewed title aspirations and sense of anticipation.
The Lady Demons begin their regular season campaign Thursday evening at Oral Roberts. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Case Soccer Complex.
NSU, following a shortened offseason which included the introduction of a new coaching staff, enters regular season play prepared for what is ahead.
“I got eyes on Oral Roberts in the summer league when I worked in North Dakota,” said first year head coach Stuart Gore. “In the last few games of their spring season, Oral really clicked, so I’m expecting some version of that team to prove a tough opponent when we visit them Thursday.”
While opening his career as a Division I head coach Thursday night, Gore feels similar to years past from his days as a Division I assistant and NAIA and professional head coach.
“Just based on where I’ve been able to coach, and where I’ve won in the past, this is just another game for myself,” Gore said.
The players echo Gore’s sense of confidence and come fully ready for Thursday following an exhibition at Little Rock the previous weekend. The Lady Demons limited the Trojans to seven shots, but Little Rock found the back of the net in a 1-0 NSU loss.
“We’re working to figure out the new system, and the game at Little Rock did a lot to help strengthen that,” senior midfielder Norma Trejo said. “This offseason has been primarily about getting to the goal more, and finding what works for us, and the Little Rock trip went a long way toward getting us there.”
“We all feel prepared coming into the fall season,” Trejo said. “We’ve worked incredibly hard to get here, and we’re excited to get back on the field Thursday, this time with coaches Stu and Mel at our backs.”
The Lady Demons’ 2020 season, which was played in the spring of 2021, ended with a quarterfinal loss in the Southland Conference tournament to eventual champion Southeastern Louisiana in penalty kicks, 4-3, after seven rounds.
Despite playing 14 matches this past season, NSU shattered the program record for season shutouts (nine) and led the league in goals allowed (six).
Six Lady Demons garnered preseason All-Conference honors, including Senior and Southland goalkeeper of the year Acelya Aydogmus, along with conference defensive player of the year Nicole Henry.
Following Thursday’s match, NSU continues its road schedule with a Sunday match at SMU. The Lady Demons return to Natchitoches after a four-game road swing to open at home Sept. 1 against Louisiana Tech.
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