FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona soccer team opened the home portion of its 2012 season schedule in front of a stadium-record attendance but could not come away with a victory, dropping a 4-0 decision to Arizona State Friday night at Lumberjack Stadium. The Lumberjacks hosted their in-state rival with 2,207 fans in the stands, breaking the previous record of 2,187 from the 2009 season against Arizona.
“The crowd definitely helped us in the first half,” said head coach Andre Luciano. “It was a bummer that we gave up a quick second goal to begin the second half, but it’s always great as a player to see that many people at the game.”
Both teams began the game trading possessions as neither team was able to get off a shot until the 10th minute. Following three Sun Devil shot attempts, the visitors broke through with a goal in the 16th minute courtesy of Devin Marshall. On the play, Courtney Tinnin took a corner kick and sent it in over the pack gathered in front of the net to Marshall, who headed into the upper right corner.
The Lumberjacks would buckle down defensively though and would shut out the Sun Devils for the remainder of the half and they trailed just 1-0 heading into the intermission.
But less than two minutes into the second half, Marshall capitalized on an opportunity and gave the Sun Devils a 2-0 advantage when she put in a rebound off her own shot that was initially stopped by freshman Natalie Gilbertson. Arizona State would later put the game away with a pair of goals by Cali Farquharson in the final 10 minutes.
Despite being outshot by a 30-9 margin, 21-5 in the decisive second half, the Lumberjacks had their share of opportunities to net a goal. Freshman Nicole Sherwin narrowly missed on two occasions, first with a shot that grazed the crossbar in the 66th minute and later on a free kick from just outside the box following an Arizona State yellow card.
Gilbertson, making her second start of the season, recorded a career-high 10 saves including four saves on 1v1 situations. With that total, she became the ninth Lumberjack goalkeeper to notch double-digit saves in a single game. Sherwin led the team with three shots, while senior Georgia Foltz had two shot attempts off free kicks.
“The speed of play of play is obviously a lot quicker in the Pac-12, but we just have to stay positive,” Luciano said. “We have to take the positives out of this game and move forward with it.”
The Lumberjacks return to the field on Sunday when they host Arizona at 12 p.m. at Lumberjack Stadium. The game will be televised live on Suddenlink Channels 4 and 104 as well as online.