HOUSTON, Texas — A week ago, the Northwestern State women’s soccer team’s conference opener was characterized by perseverance and grit. A dominating performance within the flow of the game only fruited a single goal that didn’t occur until nearly 80 minutes into the contest.
Nine days later at Houston Baptist — NSU’s second conference match — was a completely different story. Consistent pressure from the outset yielded an early goal and that turned into two, as the Lady Demons downed Houston Baptist 2-0 at Sorrels Field.
“A key for us was to start well, and control the pace of the game,” said co-head coach Jess Jobe. “We are very pleased with what we were able to do.”
Northwestern State wasn’t caught on its heels Sunday. It forced the issue early, and that resulted in a Houston Baptist error.
By way of attacking and firing a few shots at HBU goaltender Karla Ramirez, one finally slipped through. An own goal in the fifth minute staked NSU to the early 1-0 advantage.
“We are always going to be pleased with an early goal and getting on the scoresheet early,” Jobe said. “We talked about being under some pressure and kind of how it would be for (HBU) to win. When you get an early goal and (HBU) starts to feel the other the end of that pressure — now chasing a game — it just worked in our favor.”
Not 20 minutes later, Northwestern State gave itself some cushion. Still engrossed in its attacking mentality, junior Jalen Donaldson found a familiar face in fellow junior Kalee Williams for the the game’s second and final score in the 25th minute.
That marks the third such game that Williams has registered a goal. She has four scores in four contests this year, surpassing the three goals she scored all of last season.
It was a special day for co-head coaches Jess and Anna Jobe, as well. Not only was it their son, Sterling’s, first soccer match, but the shutout was the third in a row — the best such stretch since 2012 — making it the first of the Jobe era.
Junior goaltender Acelya Aydogmus played a big role in those three shutouts. She recorded four saves Sunday and has yet to allow a goal since the first half of the season opener at Louisiana Tech.
“(Our defense’s) ability to handle whatever is thrown at them — no matter what the challenge is on that day — I can’t say enough about their mentality and willingness to fight and scrap,” Jobe said. “We are getting full commitment in a lot of areas that we hold as a premium as a program, and they’re just playing really well.”
The milestones don’t stop there. NSU is now 4-0 on the season and 2-0 in Southland Conference play. That’s the best start since 2009 when it began the season with five straight wins.
Northwestern State heads back to Natchitoches, and looks forward to its first home match of the season. NSU will host Nicholls on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex.
“We are really excited. We’ve got a great home venue, and we’ve got great support in Natchitoches,” Jobe said. “It’s always fun to be in front of the fans, and hear the energy they bring to the environment.”