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Women's Soccer to Play Two at USC Trojan Invitational

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - After back-to-back 1-1 ties, NAU (0-2-2) looks to get into the win column this weekend with games against Cal State Fullerton (2-2-0) on Friday and USC (2-1-2) on Sunday in a tournament hosted by the Trojans in Los Angeles. The weekend will bring an end to a five-game road trip for the Lumberjacks, who will return home to begin a four-game homestand the following week. NAU has had 1-0 leads slip away in each of its last-two games, hoping to pick up a couple of much needed wins this weekend.

Game Coverage

Live stats will be provided for both weekend games with links available on the women's soccer schedule page on nauathletics.com. Updates, recaps and video content will also be available on nauathletics.com and on the NAU Athletics fan page on Facebook.

Scouting Cal State Fullerton

The Titans hosted their own tournament last weekend, falling to Purdue, 2-1, but scoring a 2-0 upset over UNC Greensboro, a team receiving votes in the latest NSCAA Division-I poll. To begin the season, the Titans dropped a 3-0 decision to No. 11 BYU and picked up a 4-0 victory over Eastern Washington.

Junior midfielder Casey Volk was named Big West player of the week after scoring a goal and adding an assist in the Titan's win over UNC Greensboro last weekend. Senior Christina Murillo leads the team with two goals and one assist for the season while junior Jordan Santos has a 1.28 goals against average in four starts in net.

Northern Arizona and Cal State Fullerton have met one time previously, with the Lumberjacks earning a 2-1 win in a neutral site game in Irvine, Calif. in 2001.

Scouting USC

An NCAA College Cup participant in 2009, the Trojans began the season ranked No. 19 in the NSCAA preseason poll. An early season loss to San Diego to go with two wins and two ties dropped USC from the current rankings, though they are still receiving votes. Playing at Cal State Fullerton's tournament last weekend, the Trojans had a 0-0 tie against UNC Greensboro and picked up a 1-0 win over Purdue.

The Trojans, who will face Auburn as part of their weekend tournament on Friday night, have scored just three goals in five games while allowing only two goals. Freshman goalkeeper Shelby Church has a 0.37 goals against average and three shutouts already in her rookie season, having started all-five USC games.

Northern Arizona and USC have never met in women's soccer.

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 42-15 in the first half so far this season while allowing 11 corner kicks and attempting just five in the opening stanza. NAU has also been out-scored 3-2 in the first half of games this season while placing a total of seven first-half shots on goal in four games

Conversely, the second half has been the time to shine for the Lumberjacks, with a 31-29 shot advantage and 11-7 corner kick advantage in the final-45. Despite not scoring any overtime goals, NAU has been even more offensively dominate in extra time, holding a 9-4 shot advantage and a 9-0 edge in corner kicks while allowing only one shot on goal in four overtime sessions (40 minutes).

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.

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.

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.

Six of the ten newcomers have already seen action in the initial four games this season, with Bednarz and freshmen Alana D'Onofrio and Lauren Weaver earning starts in the early season. Weaver has started the last-three NAU games, posting a 0.87 goals against average and allowing only one goal in each game.