Opposing teams cannot afford to lose track of Karlie Hintze in the box on set pieces.
The University of Jamestown freshman central defender daggered visiting Northwestern College on Wednesday at the Jimmie turf field, heading a perfectly placed Ryley Bedard corner kick inside the far post in the 77th minute to score the game-winning goal. Jamestown defeated the Red Raiders 2-1 and clinched at least the No. 3 seed for the upcoming Great Plains Athletic Conference women's soccer tournament.
The Jimmies will host a GPAC quarterfinal at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Nov. 7.
"We've been working really hard ... we really wanted to be at the top and we are," Hintze said. "We're in this and we're not stopping now. We're going to keep moving forward."
Jimmie women's soccer has been on an impressive march that began last month. UJ is 10-2 over its last 12 matches and a pair of important conference road victories last weekend at Dordt and Concordia University helped ensure the Jimmies a second-consecutive GPAC playoff game in Jamestown.
Jamestown (11-6, 9-2 GPAC) wraps up the regular season this Saturday hosting Doane (5-8-1, 1-7-1) and could finish as high as second in the conference with a little help from the team it just beat. Northwestern hosts 12th-ranked Hastings College (13-3, 9-2) on Saturday and a Hastings loss coupled with a Jimmie win could keep UJ at home through the GPAC tournament semifinals as the No. 2 seed.
Midland University (13-2-1, 10-1), the 17th-ranked team in the country, locked up the GPAC regular-season crown with a 6-0 victory over College of Saint Mary on Wednesday. Jamestown's only two conference losses have come at the hands of Midland and Hastings.
"It feels good," said UJ women's soccer coach Nick Becker. "We've said we've got to close these last four games out, and we knew that maybe three out of the four were going to be tough games against teams that were sitting at or close to us (in the conference). The girls executed the game plan pretty well.
"We gave up a goal that we shouldn't have. But we were able to come back and deal with the adversity."
The Red Raiders broke the seal in the 13th minute. Senior forward Nikky Farnsworth was able to strike for goal, assisted by an indirect free kick off the foot of freshman midfielder Julie Dunlap. The tally was Farnsworth's conference-leading 15th goal of 2019.
Jamestown answered before the break, as freshman Kamryn Fiscus buried her team-leading fifth goal of the campaign, assisted by Katie Bakker, in the 23rd minute. The Jimmies controlled tempo for most of the match, leading shots 12-3, but were unlucky on numerous chances prior to the heroics provided by Hintze and Bedard.
"Putting the ball in the right spot at the right time, it's tough sometimes," Becker said. "But they capitalized on the corner kick and we worked specifically on that ... the girls did a real good job."
Bedard, a sophomore mid from Long Beach, California, was able to bend her corner to a waiting Hintze near the far post. Sparsely guarded, Hintze hit mesh. Bedard notched a team-leading fourth assist.
"She does a really nice ball, swinging it in behind the goalie and I was open," Hintze said of Bedard. "I just got in there and took care of the job. It's nice to get a header in and close off the match."
Saturday's match hosting Doane is also senior day, as UJ seniors Brianna Kulla, Sydney Hollingsworth, Holly Swan, Nicole Morrison and Gabriella Diarte will be recognized. The match begins at 1 p.m. with the UJ men vs. Doane to follow at 3:30.
"We're going to out with a bang for our seniors," Hintze said. "Hopefully, we'll end up with a W. That's our plan."
University of Jamestown 2, Northwestern College 1
NC 1 0 -- 1
UJ 1 1 -- 2
1. NC, Nikky Farnsworth (Julie Dunlap), 13th minute; 2. UJ, Kamryn Fiscus (Katie Bakker), 23rd; 3. UJ, Karlie Hintze (Ryley Bedard), 77th.
Goalkeeper saves: NC, Lis Foster 5. UJ, Alex Nowka 2.
Yellow cards: NC, bench 86th.
Records: Jamestown 11-6-0, 9-2 GPAC. Northwestern 9-7-1, 6-5.