By Aaron Ferguson, Sports Information Graduate Assistant
Northwestern State soccer’s defensemen showed out on Sunday, capping yet another shutout weekend and anchoring the Lady Demon’s first place position in the Southland Conference race. A one-goal, one-assist day for senior defender Natalee Henry highlighted a 2-0 victory for the Lady Demons. Her goal came in the 66th minute, followed by a corner kick opportunity which was hunted down by junior defender Jayme Haynes.
As the Cardinals were advancing in the 66th minute with the match still scoreless, UIW (4-10-1, 4-5 SLC) relinquished possession near midfield to NSU (8-4-3, 8-1-1 SLC). Henry took control, set up from deep beyond the Incarnate penalty box, and fired a shot at high center, proving to be just out of reach of UIW keeper Margaret Kofron. “We’ve been working on posting up and taking shots like that in practice,” Henry said. “I saw some space behind me, turned, took the shot from out wide, and it fell just right.” Head coach Stuart Gore spoke of the team taking certain risks and going for opportunities when appropriate, just as Henry’s opportunity had presented itself on Sunday.
“I trust players—especially Natalee— to use discretion in situations like that,” Gore said. “If you don’t take (the shot), you don’t win the lottery. She bought her ticket, took the shot, and it paid off.” Junior defenseman Jayme Haynes found the net in the 80th minute off of a Henry corner kick, which sent to the far-left side of the Cardinal net. Haynes made good on a header attempt and redirected the ball into the left corner, scoring the deciding goal for NSU and the first of her Lady Demon career.
A two-save day from Southland Goalkeeper of the Year Acelya Aydogmus resulted in her fourth consecutive shutout, and ninth on the season. Nine ties the single season record, a mark which was set by Aydogmus just six months prior in the spring Southland Conference quarterfinal match against Southeastern Louisiana. Despite a scoreless affair through the first half, UIW had an opportunity to take a lead following a foul called on senior defender Nicole Henry just beyond the Cardinal penalty box.
The resulting free kick was a line drive for the high right corner of the NSU net. Heroics on the part of Aydogmus warded off the UIW shot, who dove and extended to her right to punch the shot away. The rebound which followed found the foot of another Incarnate attacker, whose attempt proved to be non-threatening. NSU’s victory over Incarnate Word marks its fourth consecutive win and fourth straight season sweep of Southland opponents in which not a single goal was allowed.
Following a much needed off week, the Lady Demons hit the road for their final road match on Oct. 26 at Houston Baptist.