Seven seniors to be honored as Northwestern State finishes regular season against Southeastern Louisiana

When the current senior class arrived, the Northwestern State women’s soccer program had just finished over .500 once in the previous nine years.

In the past four seasons, this class has led NSU (10-3-3 overall, 5-3-3 Southland Conference) to a 44-20-8 record with a conference regular season and tournament championship and another trip to the SLC Tournament title game in 2019.

On Friday, seven members of the program—Olivia Draguicevich, Hallie Field, Jayme Haynes, Sam Hanking, Chloe DeShazer, Micah Goss and Director of Operations Maddie Scott—are being honored before NSU’s final regular season contest against Southeastern Louisiana, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex.

“They’re a great group,” NSU women’s soccer head coach Stuart Gore said regarding the senior class. “They were pretty much my class coming in and were my guides. They are a great group of people as well as individuals. They are welcoming to new players and coaches. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

Low scoring is the name of the game between the two schools. In the last seven meetings, the teams have combined to score five goals. That includes a scoreless tie Sept. 18 in Hammond. Draguicevich, Field, Haynes, Hanking and Scott have been a part of six of those matchups.

Strong defense has been a big reason for that.

Despite being a transfer student and only having been at NSU for this season, DeShazer has already made her mark. The native of Kansas City has recorded six shutouts this season and earned a pair of SLC goalkeeper of the week awards.

DeShazer, who has played every minute for NSU at goalkeeper this season, has a .688 goals against average, which would be the second-best mark in program history for a single season.

Field, the reigning SLC Offensive Player of the Week, has scored in three consecutive games, including the game-winning goals in two of them. Her second half goal this past Friday at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi put NSU in front for good.

“Hallie has been a really big player for us recently,” Draguicevich said. “She has stepped up into more of a center-mid role and I think having more players who can score now is really helping us. Even if you shut one person down, we have multiple assets, which has helped us.”

The two-time First Team All-SLC selection has also aided a defense that has recorded 35 shutouts since she arrived on campus. Fellow senior Jayme Haynes, who worked her way back from a serious injury suffered as a freshman, has also become an All-Conference player.

The duo, along with three-time SLC Defender of the Year Nicole Henry, has helped hold opponents to five or fewer shot attempts 11 times this season, including 10 of 11 in league games.

“Opportunities are probably going to be few and far between,” Gore said. “It’s just going to be taking that opportunity when it arises and knowing the next one might be a while for it arises.”

Defensively for SLU (7-5-3, 5-3-3), the Lady Lions have reigning SLC goalkeeper of the week Olivia Griffin, who did not allow a goal in the two victories this past weekend. She is third in the conference in goals against average (1.119) and second in save percentage (.776). Griffin made four stops in the scoreless draw earlier this season between the two schools.

Draguicevich, a Pflugerville, Texas, native, has been an offensive force since she arrived on the NSU campus. She came to Natchitoches and quickly made an impact, scoring six goals as a freshman. Three of her goals came in overtime, including putting home the only goal in double overtime in a win in the SLC Tournament semifinals against McNeese.

She has done about as much as anyone could ask, as she led the Lady Demons to a conference regular season and tournament title in 2021, earning Louisiana and SLC Players of the Year in the process. Draguicevich has scored nine goals this season and finds herself just two behind Britiany Cargill for the most goals in program history for a career. She is also third in total points.

SLU has won its last two, including a dominating 5-1 victory over McNeese last time out. Offensively for the Lady Lions, Mya Guillory has scored in three of her last six games, including a four-point output last contest against McNeese.

Following the game, NSU will stay home as it hosts the SLC Tournament, beginning Nov. 2, where it will be the No. 2 seed.

Even though this isn’t technically the final match played in front of the home crowd, it will be an emotional time for the seven seniors, reflecting on their careers as one of the best senior classes in program history.

“Overall, I have said this to my team multiple times,” Goss said. “I love soccer, but at the end of the day, I do this for them. They have made this experience one of the most amazing in my life. I have made lifelong friends here. They are some of the most amazing people you’re ever going to meet. Overall, I am grateful for all the experiences they’ve given me.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services