On Oct. 28, the University of Central Arkansas women’s soccer team (15-3-1, 10-0-1 SLC) beat Northwestern State University (10-7-1, 7-3-1 SLC) 2-0 in the last game of the season at the Bill Stephens Track/Soccer complex.
“Last year we beat them 3-1 so it wasn’t one of our harder games, I think we went into it like they’re good but not [Stephen F. Austin] good. So we knew could win but we had to play hard,” junior midfielder Alex Moore said.
Since it was senior night, midfielder Allie Coleman, midfielder Kelsey Johnson, forward Chele Naudin and forward Shelby Wilson all received honors.
“It was so great to be able to send our seniors off with a win, first off, but also in a game like this, where they had to dig deep, was great,” coach Jeremy Bishop said.
The first half the Bears defense held Northwestern State’s offense scoreless, while the Bears’ offense was trying to get something going. At the end of the first half, the score was still 0-0.
“In practice we scrimmaged each other in their formation and our coach told us they’re going to have three in the back, four in the middle and they’re going to have three up top. So outside-mids have to get back to defend,” Moore said.
During the game, junior forward Dayna Mounie was given a red card for kicking Northwestern State freshman Andrea Rodriguez Flores.
“She has to sit out for the next game which is our conference game, but hopefully we will win and we could have her back for the championship,” sophomore midfielder Ashley Smith said.
The red card resulted in her getting kicked out the game and the Bears having to play with only 10 players. Following the red card, the Bears dominated the second half, attempting 11 shots while Northwestern only had five shots.
“After halftime we told ourselves we are down a man but we have to win this game. So we did whatever it took to score a goal,” Moore said.
In minute 54, Moore scored with an assist from sophomore midfielder Kirsten Ricks. Then at 82 minutes, Moore gave an assist to Smith for the goal.
“I looked for the goal and looked for the shot, also you have to be at the right place at the right time,” Smith said. “We all were full of emotion because of senior night but we knew what we needed to do.”
Goalkeepers junior Anna Hughes and sophomore Lauren Mercuri combined for their 11th shutout of the season. “Lauren and Anna have been huge in goal all season long, but it’s team defense. When we do that well, we’re pretty tough to get behind and pretty tough to score on,” Bishop said. “They’re both evenly matched in talent.”
The Bears remain unbeaten and earn the top seed in next week’s Southland Conference Tournament by winning the regular season title. Their next game is determined by who wins the matchup between Houston Baptist and Southeastern Louisiana.
“If we are aware of that and have the right mindset, and we can continue doing the things we’ve been doing all season long, we’ll have a pretty good chance in all of our games,” Bishop said.
photo by Shiori Soya