VIDEO: LUMBERJACKS HOIST THE BIG SKY
PORTLAND, Ore. – Sophomore Jenna Samora scored early and Kristi Andreassen, Ashley Marrapode and Sam Monahan added insurance tallies to lead Northern Arizona past Idaho State, 4-0, for their second-consecutive Big Sky Title on Sunday afternoon in Portland. The Lumberjacks earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history and will find out who, where and when they play when the championship field is announced on Monday night at approximately 6 p.m. Arizona time on ESPNEWS.
Samora was named MVP of the Big Sky Championship, as the NAU sophomore had goals in both of the Lumberjack’s tournament games. Also named to the all-tournament team for Northern Arizona were Andreassen, Monahan, sophomore goalkeeper Tori Rocke and junior defenders Tori Howe and Rebekah Schmidt.
“This is a testament to all of the hard work that this team has put in throughout the year,” said head coach Andre Luciano. “Our team has gone through so much adversity, losing key players to injuries and all of the changes we’ve had to handle with our stadium. The first one was sweet, but this one is a little bit sweeter because it proves to everyone that we belong as an NCAA Tournament team.”
The Bengals had the first scoring chance of the game in the 11th minute, as a long pass was picked up by freshman Jana Davis-Boehler for what appeared to be a breakaway. NAU junior Tori Howe caught up to the attacking Bengal inside the Lumberjack box, slowing the ball enough to be stopped by goalkeeper Tori Rocke.
Two minutes later the Lumberjacks had a great scoring chance after being awarded an indirect free kick inside the Idaho State box, 10 yards from the goal. A touch by junior Sam Monahan led to a shot from junior Corie McGuire, but the try was blocked by the Bengal line and cleared away from danger.
The Lumberjacks would take the lead in the 19th minute, as senior Sarah Neatherton sent a perfect lead pass along the right side of the field to sophomore Jenna Samora. Northern Arizona’s leading scorer moved in unopposed and finish to the bottom-left corner past a diving Bengal goalkeeper Bailey Williams to give NAU the early lead. The assist for Neatherton was the 18th of her career, tying her with Cee Cee Odorfer for the most career assists in Northern Arizona history
In the 30th minute, a free kick by Idaho State senior Annamarie Hofstetter from 30 yards hit traffic and came to freshman Rachel Strawn, who’s try from 15 yards sailed wide left. NAU withstood a strong offensive push by Bengals for the remainder of the half to take a 1-0 lead into the break.
Northern Arizona was able to pad its lead in the 57th minute, courtesy of the strong right leg of Andreassen. The Lumberjacks were awarded a free kick 35 yards from the Idaho State goal, and the NAU junior blasted an indefensible shot off the bottom of the crossbar and over the goal line to extend NAU’s lead to 2-0.
With a two-goal lead the Lumberjacks went into a defensive shell, keeping four or more players on their half of the field for the remainder of the contest. However, in the 74th minute, a foul call 30 yards from the Bengal goal would led to a third score. The free kick was taken by Monahan, who’s shot bended into the ISU goal mouth and was deflected into the left corner of the goal by Marrapoad for a 3-0 Northern Arizona lead.
In the 84th minute, the Lumberjacks added another goal off a loose ball atop the ISU box. A pass from junior Anna Clark found Monahan in open space, and her shot found the inside of the right post to give the Lumberjacks a final winning margin of 4-0.
After being outshot 11-6 in the first half, NAU posted an 11-1 shot advantage in the second half. Rocke made four saves for her fourth shutout of the season while Williams made five stops for the Bengals. The Lumberjacks had 11 different players attempt at least one shot, paced by three attempts from Monahan. NAU attempted six corner kicks in the game while not allowing any to Idaho State.
Fans are invited to join the team to watch the NCAA Championship selection show Monday night a 6 p.m. at the du Bois center on the Northern Arizona campus.
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VIDEO: LUMBERJACKS HOIST THE BIG SKY