NACOGDOCHES, Texas— Party like it’s 2002.
It was a long time coming, but a second half goal by freshman Samantha Hanking helped the Northwestern State soccer team beat rival Stephen F. Austin 1-0 for the first time since 2002.
The last victory against the Ladyjacks was also in Nacogdoches, a 4-0 triumph. It is also the first conference-opening victory for NSU since winning at Lamar in 2016.
"It feels great to win the opener," co-head coach Jess Jobe said. "We felt like we did a nice job to be deserving of the game after 90 minutes. The players did really well and deserve a lot of credit. They work really hard and they earned it."
In the 58th minute, Hanking received a pass from fellow freshman Jayme Haynes and shot it to the bottom left side of the net for the lone goal of the game. It is Hanking’s first career goal and it is Haynes’ second career assist.
"I just saw Jayme and called for the b
all and when I kicked the ball, I hoped for the best and it went in," Hanking said.
NSU had the opening few chances in the game. First, sophomore Natalee Henry had an opportunity from the edge of the box, but her shot went just high.
A few minutes later, Hanking shot one that hit the football crossbar, since the game was moved to Nacogdoches High School’s Dragon Stadium. The football crossbar is a bit above the soccer one, so it stayed 1-0.
Sophomore Kalee Williams juked a defender in the box in the 13th minute to create a chance, but nothing came of it. The game remained scoreless at halftime.
It remained scoreless until Hanking’s goal in the 58th minute. The Lady Demons had a few nice chances, but Haynes’ pass to Hanking was the best one of the night for Northwestern State.
Following the goal, NSU kept the pressure on in the SFA end of the field, but the Ladyjacks kept the Lady Demons from getting any breathing room.
SFA’s best chance came on a free kick that bounced and NSU goalkeeper Acelya Aydogmus made a fingertip save that kept the Lady Demons in front.
NSU had one final chance, as freshman Olivia Mattsson had a chance in the box, but the rocket off her foot hit the soccer crossbar and was knocked away by the Ladyjack defense.
Stephen F. Austin applied pressure the last few minutes, but could never solve the NSU defense and the Lady Demons came away with the 1-0 victory.
The defense stymied the Ladyjacks all game long, not allowing many chances in front of NSU goalkeeper Acelya Ayodmus.
"Our personnel works so good back there," junior Alexis Weaver said.
"We're ready to compete for every single ball and limiting their chances, and I just know the future is bright for us right now."
NSU dominated in shots, 10-3, with the Lady Demons winning in shots on goal 2-1.
After a Sunday off, the Lady Demons return to Natchitoches next Friday against Lamar.
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