By Aaron Ferguson, Sports Information Graduate Assistant
HAMMOND – The total body of work in the Northwestern State soccer team’s Sunday rematch against Southeastern Louisiana had an air of familiarity about it.
In strikingly similar fashion to the Lady Demons’ (6-4-3, 6-1-1 SLC) conference opener against SLU (5-5-2, 3-2-2 SLC) on Sept. 10, NSU took a first half lead against their Hammond rivals off of a goal from junior forward Olivia Draguicevich, which proved once again to be the game winner.
Just as in their first contest with the Lady Lions, Draguicevich found the back of the net in the first half off of an assist from sophomore midfielder Kyle Nolen. With halftime approaching, Nolen took a shot opportunity from just outside the penalty box that found the crossbar. The resulting rebound put the ball in play for Draguicevich directly in front of SLU goalkeeper Nadine Maher, where an exceptionally well-timed strike off the right foot of Draguicevich caught Maher off guard, resulting in the lone goal of the match in the 35th minute..
Draguicevich’s goal was her tenth on the season against league opponents and tenth career game-winning goal. Her second game winner of the weekend secured Draguicevich’s spot at second in program history in career game winning goals. The record currently sits at 12, set by former Lady Demon Erin Hebert (2004-2007).
Head coach Stuart Gore spoke of Nolen’s keen ability to create from distance, and her role in Draguicevich’s goal.
“Kyle has great technical ability from anywhere outside the 18,” Gore said. “If we’re able to put a shot on-frame that’s a good look for her, she’s not afraid to take it. Her attempt at the net didn’t result in a goal for herself but did set Olivia up very nicely.”
In a tale of two halves for the Lady Demons, NSU proved to be the aggressors throughout the opening half, posting a 6-2 edge in shots including the goal. The Lady Demons finished the day with nine shots and five shots on goal.
As was also the case in the Lady Demons’ first match against SLU, the Lady Lions entered the second half aggressively searching for a chance to equalize that was never found. Despite controlling possession for the majority of the half, SLU was held to a single shot attempt through the entirety of the second half – a desperate shot from junior Mya Guillory in the 88th minute that was non-threatening.
“The wind played a big part in our momentum in the first half, and theirs in the second,” Gore said. “They put us under a lot of pressure after halftime, and we were just able to dig in and keep our composure, which is always great to see.”
Capping a quiet weekend for senior Goalkeeper Acelya Aydogmus, the reigning Southland Conference Goalkeeper of the Year logged a lone save on Sunday on an attempt from SLU’s Maycie Massingill in the 32nd minute. The all-time shutout leader in NSU history added another to her tally, elevating the career record to 22.
The Lady Demons resume their second act of Southland Conference play on Friday, hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex.
Photo: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services
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