For the first time in the 2019 regular season, the Northwestern State soccer team tasted victory with a 1-0 triumph over Jackson State at the JSU Soccer Field Sunday afternoon.
The lone goal of the game came in the 32nd minute by freshman Olivia Draguicevich, off an assist from senior Jayden Wheeler. Draguicevich takes over the team lead in goals with her second of the season. She had shared it with sophomores Jalen Donaldson and Kiara Padilla. Wheeler’s assist is her first point of the young season.
“It feels good to win,” co-head coach Jess Jobe said. “We want to enjoy this feeling. There are things we want to strive for and get better. “We’ll enjoy winning our first one and then get back to work.”
The previous three contests, NSU won the stat sheet, but was unable to come away with the win. Against Jackson State, the Lady Demons both dominated the stat sheet and came away on top on the scoreboard as well. Northwestern State won in shots 13-3, as well as shots on goal 10-3.
Draguicevich came off the bench and gave the squad a spark. Of NSU’s 13 shots, she shot five of them, including the goal.
After a stalemate the first 12 minutes, the Lady Tigers attempted the first shot of the game, but was saved by NSU senior goalkeeper Kayla Bomben, who had three saves on the day.
Northwestern State applied pressure with shots by freshmen Jayme Haynes and Maddie Scott. After coming in in the 17th minute, Draguicevich wasted little time getting involved. She attempted two shots in her first seven minutes before scoring on her third attempt of the day in the 32ndminute.
Wheeler had the assist, which is her first point since Oct. 19, 2018. It is her first assist in virtually a year to the day, getting one against Southern on Sept. 7, 2018.
NSU kept up the shots, attempting six more in the second half, but Jackson State goalkeeper Bianca Clemente was up to the task. She made nine saves on the day.
The defense was stout once again for the Lady Demons, posting their first shutout of 2019 and the unit has allowed one or fewer goals in three of the past four contests.
“The defense played well,” Jobe said. It was a tough environment and tough playing surface. Jackson State had speed and athleticism, but Bomben did well to lead the defense. It was a team effort to get that shutout.”
The Lady Demons return home for the final two contests of non-conference play, beginning Friday against Texas State. They also play in-state foe UL Lafayette Sept. 15. Both games will be free for everyone to attend thanks to the sponsorship of the Louisiana Army National Guard.