NATCHITOCHES—In the words of Dorothy Gale, there’s no place like home.
For the first time in the regular season, the Northwestern State soccer team plays in front of home crowd after four consecutive games on the road to begin the season when it faces Jackson State on Friday.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex.
The game is the first of three consecutive games at home.
“It feels kind of sad that this is my last one,” NSU forward Natalee Henry said. “But I am excited to start playing again and play in front of friends and family for the first time this regular season.”
NSU (2-1-1) is fresh off a 5-1 victory in which it scored four goals in the second half to turn a tie score into a dominant win on the road.
The two schools have met 10 times previously, with NSU winning all 10 matches. In the 10 contests, NSU has yet to surrender a goal, outscoring JSU 35-0.
In the 5-1 victory last game, Northwestern State scored four times in the second half to turn a 1-1 tie into a comfortable win. NSU recorded five goals from five different players.
Three of those players—Henry, Olivia Draguicevich and Paige Armstrong—recorded their second goals of the season. Those three lead NSU in goals with the two and Armstrong and Henry lead the team with five points scored.
Eight players have multiple points, with four tallying at least three. Jalen Donaldson is the other NSU player that fits in that category, scoring three.
In three of the four contests so far, NSU has registered at least 18 shot attempts, and are 2-0-1 in those games. The team has out-shot its opponents so far 62-49 and 28-20 in shots on goal.
Two players earned Southland Conference weekly awards for their showings against Grambling, midfielder Delaney Wells and goalkeeper Chloe DeShazer.
DeShazer has been the last line of defense for NSU at goalkeeper, surrendering just a 1.00 goals against average, allowing just one goal in every game, keeping the team in every game. She is coming off an effort in which she stopped a season-high six shots, which earned her the conference honor.
“It feels really good to win the conference goalkeeper of the week award,” DeShazer said. “It’s kind of a confidence boost I think I needed. I am really proud of the team responding to every goal they have scored. This is a nice confidence boost as we go to the next match.”
JSU (1-5) has struggled offensively, scoring one goal in six games. The Lady Tigers are coming off a 1-0 loss against Nicholls in their first road game of the season.
The one goal came off the foot of Kendyl Terrell in the 81st minute of a 1-0 victory over Jacksonville State.
“They’re a very athletic team, a tough team,” Gore said. “They have played a number of Southland teams, so that will give you a gist of where we’re at. “They’re dangerous on the break and it’s a team we can’t take lightly.”
There will be a high school football game at Turpin Stadium at the same time, so people planning on attending the soccer contest will have to be aware of the football game.
NSU continues its home stand with a visit from UIW on Sunday, as it begins conference play. The team finishes its three-game stretch at home with a visit from perennial conference power Lamar on Sept. 16.
PHOTO: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services