Sept. 10, 2018, Sterling, Colo. – The beginning of conference play is always an exciting time for teams. It means they have a chance to win games in order to place themselves higher for post-season play. A better seeding during tournament time means a better chance at advancing. No matter the situation, the games always have a different feel.
The first game against Trinidad was a physical game with neither team being able to establish a rhythm. The first goal of the game belonged to Trinidad in the 29th minute from a penalty kick after the Plainswomen fouled them inside the box. That was the long goal of the first, so the Plainswomen still had time to make up the difference. The equalizer came by Macy Gurule in the 57th minute as she charged towards the goal from the left side and slotted it past the keeper far post. Kennedie Brumbelow was awarded with the assist. The rest of the game was in Trinidad's favor, as they scored the next three goals. The game ended in a Plainswomen defeat, but in retrospect, all of the Trojans' goals were scored off set plays and not in the run of play. Those errors can be fixed in practice by the Plainswomen as they prepare for next week.
The next day featured another tough matchup as the ladies played against the Otero Rattlers. The Plainswomen dominated the ball possession in the first half and had many close calls. Macy Gurule had a header from a corner kick that barely missed wide. At half, the Plainswomen doubled the amount of shots as the Rattlers. The ice breaker came on the 52nd minute as the Rattlers scored by a free kick from outside the penalty box. The Otero player shot it over the wall and into the goal as Nohelia Pena missed in a diving attempt. Throughout the rest of the game, Northeastern tried to equalize the score, but was unsuccessful.
Coach McAlpine commented, "The defensive line has greatly improved, along with our midfield defensive shape. We are not allowing our opposition good scoring opportunities from the run of play – evidenced by not conceding any goals in the last two games other than set plays. We just need to be more cautious about where we foul, and we will be in good shape."
Those two losses were a tough pill to swallow for the Plainswomen, but they are looking to get one back in Region IX standings as they face the Western Nebraska Cougars on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 11 a.m.