Northwestern State offense steps up in overtime loss at No. 23 Rice

Through the offseason and leading into the 2021 season, the Northwestern State soccer team has placed an emphasis on dialing up their offense and creating more opportunities to score.

Despite walking away with a loss on Sunday, the Lady Demons (0-3-1) found some of that rhythm and took No. 23 Rice (4-0) to overtime. In the 95th minute, Rice’s Vyviene Spaulding made good on an assist from the right corner and scored the golden goal, securing a 2-1 victory.

Rice took an early lead after scoring the opening goal in the 19th minute. Although being down a goal, possession between both teams was an even affair through the opening period. At half, NSU led Rice in total shot attempts 4-3.

Rice held control through the majority of the second period and tested the capabilities of the NSU defense. Despite taking seven shots to NSU’s three in the final 45 minutes of regulation, NSU defenders – along with a seven save outing from senior goalkeeper Acelya Aydogmus — held Rice to zero goals in the second period and allowed the Lady Demons a chance to tie the match late in regulation.

In the 71st minute, sophomore midfielder Kyle Nolen found the net for NSU off a throw in by Caroline Hilliard, sinking the shot high right to tie the match at one apiece.

“I thought we bounced back really well and made life difficult for the 23rd ranked team in the country, head coach Stuart Gore said.

“We created some good opportunities, and Kyle’s finish was first class.” I’m looking forward to seeing how we can build off of this experience.”

Veterans Nicole Henry and Olivia Draguicevich led the charge for NSU, both tallying three shot attempts at the net with two on target. The Lady Demons logged ten total shot attempts on the match, five of which were saved in the net — a marked improvement from Friday’s five shot performance at Prairie View A&M. Rice finished the day with 17 shots and nine shots on goal.

Wrapping up its first road stretch of the season, NSU returns home for its home opener Wednesday night at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex against Louisiana Tech.

Photo:  Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

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