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August 31, 2010

Women's Soccer Continues Road Swing at Arizona, New Mexico State

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - After a week off, Northern Arizona (0-2) returns to action with a pair of road contests at Arizona (0-2) and New Mexico State (2-0-1). After suffering setbacks at home against Arizona State and at UTEP, the Lumberjacks will be looking to get into the win column for the first time in 2010. NAU is in the midst of a five game road trip, and will not play again at home until September 17. The Lumberjacks are currently on a four-game road winless streak dating back to last season.

Game Coverage

Live stats will be provided for both games with links available on the women's soccer schedule page on nauathletics.com. New Mexico State will also provide audio and video for a fee on nmstatesports.com and the game will be aired live in Las Cruces on KSNM 570 AM.

Scouting Arizona

The Wildcats started the season 0-2 after falling 4-1 to No. 22 San Diego and 4-2 to Pepperdine last weekend in San Diego. Lisa Oyen takes over as head coach this season after the team went 4-15-1 in 2009. Arizona was unanimously picked to finish last in the Pac-10 in the preseason conference coaches poll.

Junior forward Renae Cuellar has two goals and one assist in two games this season after leading the team with six goals and 12 points in 2009. Freshman goalkeeper Lorena Aragon has started both games in goal for the Wildcats, who have been outshot by their opponents 23-11 thus far in 2010.

Last season, NAU played Arizona to a 2-2 draw in front of a record crowd of 2, 187 fans in Flagstaff. The Lumberjacks have not played in Tucson since 2004, when the Wildcats claimed a 4-0 victory. Northern Arizona is 0-5-1 all-time against Arizona, earning its first positive result in 2009.

Scouting New Mexico State

In just its second season, the New Mexico State women's soccer program has gone 2-0-1 thus far in 2010 after posting a solid 9-9-1 record in its inaugural season in 2009. In three home games this season, the Aggies have a 1-1 draw with Montana and wins over Jacksonville State, 2-1, and Prairie View A&M, 8-0. In out-scoring its opponents 11-2, New Mexico State has out-shot its opposition 75-28 and has a 34-7 advantage in corner kicks. The Aggies set a program record for goals in a game with their 8-0 route of Prairie View A&M on Sunday.

Sophomore forward Yolanda McMillion scored a hat trick against Prairie View A&M and already has five goals this season. She was named Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Offensive Player of the Week for her performance last weekend. The Aggies, who will play at New Mexico on Friday night before returning home to host NAU, were picked to finish eighth in the nine-team WAC in the preseason conference coaches poll.

The Lumberjacks claimed a 3-1 victory over New Mexico State last season in Flagstaff. It was the first all-time meeting between the schools in the inaugural year of competition for the Aggies women's soccer program.

Awards and Accolades

Northern Arizona returns seven players this season that received All-Big Sky honors in 2009. Junior forward Jenna Samora, senior defender Kristi Andreassen and senior midfielder Brenna Boies were named to the All-Big Sky First Team, while senior defender Tori Howe earned Second-Team honors. Receiving All-Big Sky Honorable Mention for the Lumberjacks were senior midfielders Sam Monahan, Brandy Carr and Corie McGuire.

Samora was named the MVP of the 2009 Big Sky Championship after scoring a pair of goals to lead the Lumberjacks to the conference title. Joining Samora on the All-Tournament team were Andreassen, Monahan, Howe, senior defender Rebekah Schmidt and junior goalkeeper Tori Rocke. NAU totaled six of the 12 players to be named to the Big Sky Conference All-Tournament team.

The 2009 NAU soccer team was also extremely successful academically, with 24 players earning Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete honors and 12 players named to the Big Sky All-Academic team. Andreassen and Schmidt would earn further academic honors, with both being named to the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District team. Andreassen would go on to be named an Academic All-American, becoming the first player in program history to earn All-American honors.

She's Got CLASS

In addition to her All-American academic honors, senior defender Kristi Andreassen is now one of 30 women's soccer candidates nationwide for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, presented annually to notable college seniors who excel in four categories: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact in their communities.

Of the 60 combined candidates for the men's and women's soccer awards, Andreassen is one of only two candidates to have maintained a perfect 4.00 GPA throughout her academic career. She is also one of just seven candidates to have been named as an Academic All-American in 2009 and is the only candidate from the Big Sky Conference. The class of 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, with ballots then sent nationally to media, coaches and fans, who will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite candidate online. The winners of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award will be announced during the NCAA Men's and Women's College Cup championships in early December.

On the field, Andreassen has had a stellar career as a two-time All-Big Sky first team selection. She enters the 2010 season in the top ten in career points, goals and shots at NAU. Off the field, she has maintained a 4.00 GPA while majoring in exercise science and is on track to graduate in three and a half years in December. She volunteered over 110 hours in 2009 at various physical therapy clinics in Flagstaff and Phoenix and will be attending physical therapy school after her graduation.

Welcome Back

Though the Lumberjacks lost five seniors from the 2009 squad, they return a vast majority of their offense from last season's campaign, including 10 of 11 starters. Forward Sarah Neatherton is the only graduated Lumberjack who tallied points in 2009, as, statistically, NAU returns 85% of its offense (returning players totaled 82 of 97 total points in 2009).

In goal, the Lumberjacks will again have the services of junior Tori Rocke and sophomore Natasha Slaughter, who combined to start 19 of 21 games a year ago and played 1800:24 of 1946:51 minutes (92%). Slaughter, junior midfielder Lauren Zallis and redshirt freshman midfielder Jennifer Beaudoin are back in 2010 after sustaining season-ending injuries last year, while sophomore midfielder Ethi Ethridge also rejoins the team after a redshirt season. In all, the veteran Lumberjack squad returns 440 career starts and 679 career games among its 23 returning players (An average of 29.5 career games per returning player).

Welcome

In addition to the 23 returning players, the Lumberjacks also welcome ten newcomers in 2010. After adding just four players in 2009, head coach Andre Luciano more than doubled his haul of newcomers this season, giving the youngsters a chance to learn from the deep pool of returning talent. Eight of the ten newcomers are freshman, while junior Chelsea Bednarz and sophomore Jessica Kettelkamp transferred to Northern Arizona.

Five of the ten newcomers have already seen action in the initial two games this season, with Bednarz and freshmen Alana D'Onofrio and Lauren Weaver earning starts in the early season.

Slow Starts

In addition to their slow start record-wise, the Lumberjacks have also been slow out of the gate in the first halves of their two games thus far. NAU has been outshot 23-6 in the first half so far this season while allowing six corner kicks and attempting just two in the opening stanza. NAU has also been out-scored 3-0 in the first half of games this season while placing a total of three shots on goal.

Conversely, the second half has been the time to shine for the Lumberjacks, with a 17-11 shot advantage and 8-0 corner kick advantage in the final-45. NAU has also scored three times in the second half while allowing two goals, and the opposition has placed only four total shots on goal in the second halves of games this year.

DID YOU KNOW…Based on AHRRC information NAU athletics has a significant impact on the Flagstaff economy. Lumberjack student athletes add $8.7 million to the Northern Arizona economy and visiting teams contributed $650,000 to the hotel and restaurant economy of Flagstaff.