Cassandra Diaz made University of Jamestown women's soccer coach Nick Becker look like a coaching savant at the Jimmie turf field on Thursday.
Diaz buried her second goal of the season less than 1 minute after the reserve freshman forward relieved UJ senior Nicole Morrison in the second half. Assisted by Hanna Luecka, Diaz tallied in the 55th minute after a scoreless first half, as Jamestown rolled 2-0 over Manitoba's Providence University College.
"He basically just told us that we needed to go out and put more immediate pressure," Diaz said, regarding coach Becker's halftime speech. "So any message he was relaying I was just trying to convey it on the field."
UJ sophomore Penelope Hoppe tallied moments later in the 56th minute, putting to bed what had nearly been an hour of frozen back-and-forth possession. The snowy game-time temperature hovered right around the freezing mark.
UJ was coming off a 2-1 Great Plains Athletic Conference victory over Mount Marty College on Wednesday.
"It's a tough day to play with the wind and it blowing in your face," said Becker, whose Jimmies went into the wind during the first half. "They did some good things but the final ball just wasn't there, or they'd slip. So, just be disciplined and keep making the same runs, and, sure enough, they made the right runs in the second half and ended up getting a couple of goals."
The Jimmies won shots on goal 10-2 and played 25 athletes against the 5-6-1 Pilots. UJ goalkeepers Alex Nowka (starter) and Deisy Rodriguez each picked up a save in front of the Jamestown net.
Diaz comes to UJ from Montebello, California, a city 45 minutes from Los Angeles. Thursday's conditions were not a reminder of home.
"It's not the best. It's very cold," Diaz laughed. "The team dynamic is really working for us. We're starting to work more as a team, so it's helping us score goals and win games."
The Jimmies (7-5, 5-1 GPAC) resume conference play next week hosting Dakota Wesleyan (Oct. 16) and No. 22 Midland University (Oct. 19). Jamestown is tied with No. 14 Hastings for second in the GPAC standings at 5-1, while Midland and Briar Cliff are knotted just behind at 4-1.
UJ has six conference games remaining before the GPAC women's soccer tournament begins Nov. 2. The top eight teams will qualify for the tournament, with the top two teams earning an automatic berth into the NAIA national tournament.
Dordt (8-3-1, 5-0-1 GPAC) is the current GPAC leader.
"We control our own destiny, which is a good thing. We don't have to rely on other teams," Becker said. "But we gotta take care of Dakota Wesleyan and then a big game will be Midland again on Saturday. Hopefully, we can get some of the kinks out before then."
University of Jamestown 2, Providence University College 0
PUC 0 0 -- 0
UJ 0 2 -- 2
UJ, 1. Cassandra Diaz (Hanna Luecka), 55th minute. 2. UJ, Penelope Hoppe (unassisted), 56th.
Goalkeeper saves: PU, Morgan Andries 8. UJ, Alex Nowka 1, Deisy Rodriguez 1.
Records: Jamestown 7-5. Providence 5-6-1.