FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona soccer team notched its fifth shutout in its last six games, but had to settle for its second consecutive 0-0 tie of the weekend on Sunday, playing Sacramento State to 110:00 minutes of scoreless action. The Lumberjacks will next head into their final road trip of the season this upcoming weekend with a 4-6-4 overall record and a 2-1-2 mark in the Big Sky.
“We’ve buckled down on defense,” said head coach Andre Luciano. “We’ve figured out who our four backs are and once again Lauren (Weaver) made double-digit saves. I told the team that we’ve figured out how to keep ourselves in games defensively and we’re just really young going forward offensively.”
Sacramento State dominated play in the first half, outshooting NAU by a 6-2 margin, but the game was knotted up through the first 45 minutes going into the intermission. The Lumberjacks responded with a more controlled attack in the second half and had a few opportunities to score the go-ahead goal. In the 62nd and 64th minutes, freshman Demi Schmieder and senior Laura Johnson each had their shots saved by the Hornets’ Shelby Tomasello. Late in the half, senior Elinor Priest would have two shots on goal saved and Schmieder had another attempt go wide in the 89th minute.
The Hornets, despite a narrow 10-8 advantage in shots in the second half, could do no better and as a result, the Lumberjacks were headed to extra periods for the second time this weekend.
Both teams would exchange shots in the opening minutes of the first overtime, but the game headed to the second and final overtime period of the match still scoreless. In the final overtime, following freshman Nicole Sherwin’s shot on goal with a minute and a half remaining in the game, the Lumberjacks would muster up one final attempt for the golden goal. After Priest gathered the ball at midfield, her pass was sent forward into the box to Schmieder, who touched it over to redshirt freshman Malia Tano, but her last ditch effort skirted just right of the net.
Junior Lauren Weaver recorded 10 saves in the game for her third double-digit save game in her last four matches. With the help of the NAU starting backline of senior Georgia Foltz, junior Alana D’Onofrio, sophomore Diane Buzzard and freshman Alexia Gonzalez, each of whom played the full 110:00 minutes, the Lumberjacks held Sacramento State scoreless despite being outshot 21-13 in the match.
After three weeks of conference play, the Lumberjacks are two points outside the top-four with eight total points. For the final time this regular season, the Lumberjacks will hit the road with matches at North Dakota on Friday and Northern Colorado on Sunday with hopes of moving up in the standings.
“We have a bunch of fighters on our team,” Luciano said. “Our youth shows going forward, but our mentality and hunger to stay in games is there right now and that’s the most important thing. We still have four conference games left to pick up 12 points.”