NWC ladies unscored on after two games
When Northwest College head soccer coach Rob Hill began the task of assembling the school's first-ever women's soccer program, he started by signing Belgrade, Mont., freshman Sydney Heckel. On Friday, Heckel rewarded Hill's faith with a pair of goals in a 3-0 Northwest victory over Dodge City.
Let the trivia books show that it took just eight minutes for Northwest College to register its first soccer goal. Heckel connected from long range off a pass from Casper's Hannah Couldridge.
“It was a relief for the whole team to get the first goal of the regular season out of the way,” said Hill. “You could see the confidence of the team grow after that goal as we continued to create chance after chance.”
Despite those chances, Northwest led by just a 1-0 count at the half.
That quickly changed as the two sides returned to the pitch. Couldridge connected off a Shelby Willis assist just over three minutes into the second half to give the Trappers a 2-0 lead. Twenty minutes later, Heckel struck again on a direct free kick that went off the keeper's fingers and into goal.
By contrast, Northwest keeper Becca Sangster had a relatively uneventful first game. The Afton freshman was called on to turn away just two Dodge City shots as the defensive line of Jen Berg, Makenzie Richins, Rachel Cruz and Cynthia Barrajas severely limited the Conquistadors' open looks.
“It was a pretty one-sided affair,” Hill said. “ We played with aggression. We were first to the ball and it made a big difference in how much possession we had and how many chances we created.”
After winning their first-ever soccer contest, the Trappers returned to the field 24 hours later to record a 0-0 tie with Cisco College of Texas.
The game was played with a persistent 30-35 mile per hour wind howling across the field. The contest was also delayed for more than an hour due to what Hill described as “referee problems.”
“It didn't help the team with their mental preparation,” Hill said of the unexpected delay. “We were all ready and warmed up to go and the game was delayed.”
As a result, Hill said, it took the Trapper women most of the first half to find a rhythm offensively. After squandering the wind advantage in the first half, the Trappers hunkered down after intermission as Cisco had the wind at its back.
“We got into the attacking half of the field only a few times (in the second half),” Hill said. “When we did, we were creating decent opportunities.”
The Trappers also saw their fitness level tested as the game stretched into overtime.
“I only made one substitution in the game,” Hill said. “We showed our fitness was up to the necessary level.”
With a 1-0-1 record, the Trappers head to Scottsbluff, Neb., this Saturday for a Region IX encounter with Western Nebraska.
“It was good to start the season without conceding a goal,” said Hill. “Getting a win on the road was also a great confidence booster for the team.”
The contest could be a clash of offense against defense. Western Nebraska carries a 2-0 record into the game. The Cougars have tallied 19 goals in their two victories.