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October 30, 2009

Women’s Soccer Falls at Northern Colorado but Clinches Tourney Birth

GREELEY, Colo. – Senior Marcie Johnson and sophomore Ariel Cook each scored twice to lead Northern Colorado to a 4-0 win and deny Northern Arizona a Big Sky regular season title on Friday night in Greeley. The Lumberjacks would have finished first in the Big Sky with a win but did clinch a spot in the Big Sky Tournament, ending the regular season at 9-8-1 and 4-3-0 in the Big Sky. Northern Colorado ends its season at 6-10-1 overall and 2-5-0 in conference play.

With the Lumberjack loss, Portland State, which tied Sacramento State 0-0 on Friday, wins the regular season title and will host next week’s Big Sky Tournament. Eastern Washington defeated Montana, 1-0, on Friday and will finish in second place.

NAU had already clinched a postseason birth before kickoff based on earlier conference results on Friday afternoon, and will finish either third or fourth depending on Idaho State’s result against Weber State on Saturday. If Idaho State wins, NAU will finish fourth and play Portland State in the semifinals while Idaho State would play Eastern Washington. If the Bengals lose, NAU will finish third and face Eastern Washington, while Sacramento State would finish fourth and face the Vikings. Idaho State hosts Weber State at noon on Saturday to end the regular season.

Northern Colorado dominated Friday’s contest from the start, jumping to a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. Johnson was able to dribble past an NAU defender and finish into the corner of the Lumberjack goal to give the Bears an early advantage.

UNC would take a 1-0 lead into halftime despite 10 first-half NAU shots, and the Bears would add a second goal in the 55th minute. A corner kick by junior Olivia Deadmond found Cook along the backpost, and the Bear’s sophomore was able to beat NAU goalkeeper Tori Rocke to up the UNC lead to 2-0.

In the 62nd minute, Johnson sent a lead pass to Cook in front of the Lumberjack net, leading to a third goal for the home team. Johnson capped the scoring in the 75th minute on a breakaway to give Northern Colorado a 4-0 shutout.

Northern Arizona held a 19-13 shot advantage and a 9-4 edge in shots on goal despite the lopsided outcome. Sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Salminen made nine saves for UNC before sitting for the final seven minutes. Rocke did not record a single save, allowing four goals on four shots. Junior Sam Monahan led the Lumberjacks with five shots, placing two on goal, while Cook took five shots en route to scoring two goals to lead the Bears. Northern Colorado was only called for one foul in the game while NAU was whistled for nine infractions.

The Big Sky Championship will begin on Friday, November 6 in Portland. The first semifinal will be played at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time with the second semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday’s winners will meet on Sunday, November 8, at 11 a.m. Pacific time for the Big Sky Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. All matches will be played at the Vikings home field at Portland Community College – Rock Creek.

Check back with nauathletics.com on Saturday for the complete Big Sky Tournament pairings.