SAN ANTONIO—Two first half goals pushed the Northwestern State women’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory at UIW in its final road game of the season on a windy Sunday afternoon at Gayle & Tom Benson Stadium.
Hallie Field scored for the third consecutive game and Gracie Armstrong tallied a goal on the penalty kick pushed the score to 2-0, leading NSU to its fifth straight victory.
UIW recorded a goal late in the first half, but NSU’s defense was strong again and held the Cardinals off the board in the second.
Field scored on a header off a corner kick from Natalee Henry in the 10th minute, heading it just over the reach of UIW goalkeeper Margaret Kofron.
It is the third time in the last four games that NSU has scored in the first 10 minutes.
Her stretch of three straight games with goals is the second NSU player to do that this season, joining Olivia Draguicevich.
In the 30th minute, Armstrong tallied a goal off a penalty kick. Draguicevich drew it after being tackled on a break. Armstrong scored bottom right on the penalty kick, catching Kofron guessing incorrectly as she dove the opposite way.
Kofron stopped six shots in the game overall, making big saves in the first half to keep it within striking distance.
The Lady Demons finish the regular season with 6-1-3 mark away from home, including a 4-0-2 record in conference action.
With the win and Lamar’s 2-1 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, NSU is locked into the No. 2 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament.
“The wind played a huge part in today’s game so the game wasn’t pretty on the eyes,” NSU women’s soccer coach Stuart Gore said. “It was nice to see us score from a corner and it was a great run from Olivia to get brought down for the penalty kick.
“An ugly win is still a win so it’s in the books and now we get to focus on senior night.”
UIW (3-10-3, 2-7-3) struck back within one on a goal from Sierra Wannamaker in the 38th minute. A free kick from the Cardinals ricocheted out to Wannamaker, who she put it home in the bottom lefthand corner.
The Cardinals season comes to a close, as they finished eighth in the conference standings and did not make the SLC Tournament.
In the second half, the defenses dominated, but there were still chances. UIW put pressure on the NSU defense in the closing minutes, but the defense stood tall and kept the home team off the scoreboard.
With just two minutes left, UIW had a chance with a 1-on-1 chance against Nicole Henry, the three-time defending SLC Defensive Player of the Year. She showed she didn’t receive those accolades on accident, stopping the attack and keeping NSU in the lead.
UIW’s final chance came from Hannah Walsh, whose shot in the final minute was stopped by NSU goalkeeper Chloe DeShazer for her lone save of the game, but it was a big one.
After attempting 20 shots in the first meeting, shots were harder to come by this time around, as NSU was held to just eight shot attempts, but still led the shot battle 8-3 and 8-2 in shots on goal.
NSU concludes the regular season against in-state rival Southeastern Louisiana on Friday evening at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex before hosting the conference tournament, which begins Nov. 2.
CUTLINE: Gracie Armstrong scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal on a penalty kick in the first half, leading Northwestern State to a 2-1 win at UIW.
CREDIT: Gary Hardamon