GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The Northern Arizona women's soccer team looked to get back to their winning ways in the Big Sky Conference as they traveled to Grand Forks, N.D. to face the University of North Dakota. It took 57 minutes but the Lumberjacks scored the first goal off the foot of Demi Schmieder and Adrian Nixt tied the Northern Arizona school record with three assists in one game to defeat North Dakota 3-0. The Lumberjacks are now 6-4-2 on the season and 2-1-1 in the Big Sky.
"Today was a step forward from last weekend's match," said head coach Andre Luciano. "We got into a rhythm early in the game and we did a good job of creating opportunities in the game with players in the right place at the right time."
Schmieder, whose last goal wearing the blue and gold for NAU was Oct. 12, 2012 and after missing last season due to injury, was eager to get back to her scoring ways. In the 57thminute, the native of Flagstaff, Ariz. received a pass from Nixt to score her first goal in nearly two years to put the Lumberjacks up 1-0 over North Dakota.
"I was so happy for Demi to get back on the scoring side," said Luciano. "She has worked so hard to put herself back into a position to be playing again. She received a great ball from Adrian and she was able to stay calm and composed in order to score the goal."
Instead of scoring against North Dakota, Nixt decided to get others involved as she continued handing out goals. In the 64thminute, last year's Big Sky Golden Boot Award winner, Cierra Gamble, scored her first goal of the season off a pass from Nixt to put NAU up 2-0.
To put the nail in the coffin, Nixt dished off one more pass, this time to Haley Wingender, and Wingender was able to put the ball in the back of the net in the 85th minute for her seventh goal of the season. Nixt tied the NAU record with three assists in one game and now has 11 points this season.
"Soccer can be a lot like Christmas," said Luciano. "It is better to give than to receive and today Adrian was the gift-giver. We know teams are going to keen in on her and Haley to try and shut them down. The mark of a quality attacking player is that they can score and assist players and that is what Adrian did today."
The Lumberjacks put on an offensive showcase in Grand Forks as they put up a season-high 19 shots in one game with a season-high eight shots on goal. After the first 20 minutes of the game with both teams attacking offensively, Northern Arizona's defense was able to settle into the game and allow just two shots on goal the entire match.
The Lumberjack's attention now turns towards the University of Northern Colorado who started the weekend in fourth place in the Big Sky.
"As good as this win feels, I know the girls are now focused on Northern Colorado," said Luciano. "Northern Colorado will be one of the toughest opponents we play this year. We have to recover as quickly as possible and focus on shutting down a few players."
Kickoff between the Lumberjacks and the Bears is on Sunday, Oct. 12, in Greeley, Colo. at 11 a.m.