CEDAR CITY, Utah – Sophomore Lauren Zallis scored twice
and sophomore Natasha Slaughter made five saves for her
first-career shutout as Northern Arizona defeated Southern Utah,
2-0, on a windy Sunday afternoon in Cedar City. The Lumberjacks
moved to 1-1 on the season while Southern Utah opened their 2009
campaign with the loss.
After only three combined shots were recorded through the first 13 minutes of the contest, NAU got on the board in the 14th minute. Junior Brenna Boies broke down the left side of the box and sent a strong feed into the goal mouth. Zallis was in position for the redirect, pushing the ball past SUU goalkeeper Charly Booth into the left side of the net.
Less than three minutes later, Zallis struck again. Boies was fouled hard just above the 18-yard box, and Zallis stepped up for the ensuing direct free kick. The sophomore blasted a perfect shot off the bottom of the crossbar, dropping it over the right side of the goal line to give the Lumberjacks an early 2-0 lead.
Southern Utah got its first good chance in the 23rd minute, when Thunderbird senior Laura Goodrich picked up a loose ball five yards out from the goal on the left side. Her shot beat a diving Slaughter but hit the left post and deflected out of the play.
The Thunderbirds received Back to back corner kicks in the 28th minute, with the second leading to shot an open try from the top of the box. Senior Makell Southworth fired high but over top of the goal to negate the opportunity.
The remainder of the first half saw minimal scoring opportunities, and the first good chance of the second half came for the Thunderbirds in the 55th minute. Sophomore Elyse Alexander lofted a shot from the right side of the box, but the strong wind helped blow the ball down into the hands of a leaping Slaughter.
With the Lumberjacks in a defensive lockdown, neither team had a legitimate scoring chance until the 80th minute, when a yellow card on Boies led to a free kick for the Thunderbirds from the top of the box. Freshman Morgan Bridge bended a shot to the left side of the goal, but Slaughter was in position to make the catch.
In the 89th minute a Southern Utah cross was headed out by the Lumberjack defense along the goal line, securing a shutout for the visitors.
“It’s always good to get a win on the road,” said head coach Andre Luciano after the game. “I though we played well in the first half. We’ve still got a lot of things to work on, but we’ll take the win.”
“Natasha was solid; had good organization and did what she needed to do,” continued Luciano about his young keeper. “On the same token, I have to give our backs a lot of credit for not letting too many tries go through.”
Slaughter finished with five saves while Booth made four stops for Southern Utah. NAU outshot the Thunderbirds, 10-9, and had a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks. Zallis totaled three shots for the game, a team-high matched by sophomore Jenna Samora. McKenzie Hadley was the only SUU player to record multiple shots, finishing with two.
The Lumberjacks open their home schedule on Friday, hosting Arizona at 7 p.m. at Lumberjack Stadium.
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