FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern
Arizona scored three goals in just over nine minutes mid-way
through the second half, blowing open the contest en route to a 4-0
victory over Murray State. The Lumberjacks won their third-straight
game, outscoring the opposition 10-3 during that stretch, to
improve to 4-4-1 while Murray State dropped to 2-4-0.
After a slow start in which both teams were on the defensive, a red card against Murray State in the 33rd minute ignited the action. Racers freshman Gina Killion was ejected from the contest after elbowing NAU sophomore Lauren Zallis in the face. Zallis would leave the field with a bloody nose but would return to start the second half.
Meanwhile, the infraction seemed to fuel the home team, which scored just six minutes later. Junior Brenna Boies’ corner kick found junior Rebekah Schmidt on the right side of the box, and her header was deflected in front of the goal mouth. Senior Sarah Neatherton was there to finish the play, putting the ball into the bottom right corner to give the Lumberjacks a 1-0 lead they would take to the half.
The Lumberjacks had early chances to extend the lead to start the second half, with junior Kristi Andreassen hitting the crossbar and junior Katie Tribbey getting robbed on a diving save by Murray State goalkeeper Katie Walsh.
NAU would pad its lead in the 61st minute, as Boies sent a lead pass into the box. Sophomore Jenna Samora chipped the ball over Walsh and collected it 10 yards from the goal to finish into the empty net.
Fifty seconds later, Northern Arizona scored again with some help from the Racers. Tribbey tried a cross from the left side of the field, but the ball was intercepted by Murray State’s Danielle McMurray. Unfortunately for the sophomore, her sliding attempt to intercept the pass ended up redirecting the ball into the net for an own goal and a 3-0 lead for the Lumberjacks.
For good measure, NAU made sure the game was on ice in the 70th minute, with sophomore Ally Cwiekowski blasting a perfect shot from 35 yards out into the top-right corner of the Murray State goal for a season-best fourth goal of the game for the home team.
Before the final whistle blew, Murray State was shown a third yellow card of the game on a hard tackle that forced sophomore Noel Guevara to limp off the field. Then in the 88th minute, Racers assistant coach Jeremy Iwaszkowiec was issued his second yellow card of the game for arguing and subsequently became the second ejection of the night for Murray State, ending a frustrating night for the Racers in a 4-0 defeat.
Northern Arizona posted a 20-5 shot advantage for the game, its third-straight game with 20 or more shots. Sophomore goalkeeper Tori Rocke made four saves for her first shutout of the season while Walsh stopped six shots in the defeat. Andreassen fired seven shots, a season-game high for the Lumberjacks, while Neatherton took four shots. Murray State was whistled for nine fouls while summing four yellow cards and two red cards for the match, while NAU had just four fouls.
Northern Arizona plays five of its next six games on the road, starting at New Mexico next Friday, September 25, at 6 p.m.
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