The Wildcats 2-0 win over Northwestern State Friday night marked the first time this season that ACU had left Elmer Gray Stadium as the victors. After a loss and a tie in ACU’s first two home games this season, the Wildcats were able to secure their first home win of the year and move to 2-1-1 in the Southland Conference.
“I liked the way we attacked, that was a big thing that we talked about and wanted to focus on in this one,” head coach Casey Wilson said. “We’ve had games were we’ve scored four or five goals, but it’s important to be able to continue to put it together regularly and I think we did well on that tonight.”
ACU moves to 3-0 all-time against the Lady Demons, with shutouts in every game against NSU.
The Wildcats struck early in the match, with freshman Dylan Owens stealing the ball in the attacking third. Owens was able to beat the single defender coverage and put up a shot just over the reach of the Lady Demons keeper, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute with her second goal of the year.
“Dylan is really a workhorse,” Wilson said. “She is someone who you have to pay attention to at all times because if you give her an inch, she’ll beat you.”
ACU struck again for its second goal of the game, coming towards the end of the first half. In the 42nd minute, sophomore Megan Baer found junior Maria Gomez on the pass, who then hit a wide-open Kate Seay for a one-on-one match up with the goalie. Seay got the shot up from her left and past the keeper to give the Wildcats an extra cushion with a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
“In a lot of games, we’ve been bringing Kate into the game towards the end of the first half because she can give us an offensive spark,” Wilson said. “She’s scored a lot of late half goals for us this year with her speed and her ability to be where others aren’t.”
Neither team would score in the second half. The Wildcats’ defense held strong throughout the game, specifically in the second half. ACU was able to clear several offensive fronts by NSU and keep the Lady Demons off the board.
The Lady Demons were forced to switch goalies in the first half after a collision with NSU keeper Brooke Bourbonais and freshman Sophie Standifer. The two ran into each other as Bourbonais went for the save on a shot put up by Standifer, but stuck Bourbonais in the face, forcing her to come out of the game.
The Wildcats led the Lady Demons in shots (14-11) and shots on goal (10-6), with nine shots coming in the second half alone.
Junior Sydney Newton continued her excellent play for the Wildcats this season. She finished the match with six saves and earned her first shutout of the season.
ACU will play game two of this two-game home stand Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Central Arkansas (3-1, 6-6).