POCATELLO, Idaho – The Northern Arizona soccer team jumped on the scoreboard first on Sunday, but allowed two Idaho State goals in a minute and a half span and dropped its first conference match of the season, 2-1 to the Bengals at Davis Field. The Lumberjacks’ four-match unbeaten streak was snapped with the loss as NAU fell to 4-6-2 overall and 2-1 in Big Sky play.
“I thought Idaho State was better than us in the first half and we kind of woke them up after we scored our goal,” said head coach Andre Luciano. “They did a good job of finding a weakness in our defense and taking advantage of it twice. The second half was a flat-out even game and we thought we had chances to tie the game whether it was a wide, barely nicking the post or their keeper making a save. I’m disappointed not to get a point out of this, but there’s some room for growth for us after this game.”
Redshirt freshman Malia Tano got the game’s scoring underway in the 24th minute, notching her team-best tying second goal of the season. Tano converted on freshman Demi Schmieder’s cross as her shot hit the far goal post and rebounded into the net to give the Lumberjacks an early 1-0 lead.
The Bengals would respond in a blink of an eye with both the game-tying and game-winning goals at the 31:24 and 33:00 marks. First, Katie Flynn centered the ball and shot it past junior Lauren Weaver for the equalizer. Just over a minute and a half later, Flynn would once again play a role in giving Idaho State the lead as her pass was received by Amanda Ellsworth, who bended in a goal from the center of the field.
Idaho State would maintain its 2-1 advantage the rest of the game, but it wasn’t without a push from the Lumberjacks in the final minutes. In the 87th minute, junior Shawnee Morgan narrowly missed the tying goal as her shot skipped wide of the net by a foot. Less than a minute later, senior Georgia Foltz would have a shot at the equalizer, but her attempt sailed high of the goal.
The two teams were even in shots at 14 apiece, although the Lumberjacks placed eight shots on goal as compared to six by the Bengals. Idaho State held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks. In addition to recording her team-leading fourth assist on Tano’s goal, Schmieder paced the Lumberjacks with four shots, three of which were on frame. Tano, Morgan and Foltz all contributed three shots each. Weaver made four saves in goal.
The Lumberjacks are back home this coming weekend with matches against Portland State on Friday night at 7 p.m. and Sacramento State on Sunday morning at 12 p.m. The Lumberjacks entered this weekend ranked 21st in the country in home attendance with an average home crowd of 1,006 per game.
“We have to come out on Friday and figure out how to get three points and move forward,” Luciano said. “The key is to defend our home field. Taking away points on the road is a good thing, but we’re going to have to come out huge against Portland State on Friday night.”