POCATELLO, Idaho – A 30 minute lightning delay and a late start time forced Northern Arizona and Idaho State to a scoreless draw after the game was called after only 72 minutes and 31 seconds of play. The Lumberjacks tied a school record with their fifth-straight shutout and have not allowed a goal in 439 minutes and 35 seconds. Both teams open conference play with the tie, with NAU moving to 5-3-3 overall and Idaho State now 5-6-2.
The game began just after 5 p.m. Mountain Time, leaving less than two hours to complete the contest before a 7 p.m. sunset. When lightning was spotted in the 60th minute, NCAA mandates required the teams to leave the field for a minimum of 30 minutes. After the delay, the officials and coaches met in hopes of getting the game past the 70 minute mark to make it official. The lightning delay and lack of lights at Idaho State's Davis Field forced the stoppage, but even without any delay the late start time likely wouldn't have allowed for a full 110 minutes for a normally completed, double overtime tie anyway.
"It was unfortunate that the game had to end the way it did, but you can't control mother nature," said head coach Andre Luciano. "I thought our players came into one of the toughest places to play in the conference and handled things well. I'm pleased with the result but obviously disappointed that the game had to end early."
The game was a defensive struggle early, with NAU taking five shots before Idaho State attempted its first shot in the 37th minute. NAU senior Sam Monahan had a shot in the eighth minute off a loose ball stopped by Idaho State goalkeeper Bailey Williams, while the Bengals had a pair of shots on goal between the 36th and 41st minutes stopped by Lumberjack junior goalkeeper Tori Rocke. NAU held a 4-3 shot advantage in an offensively challenged, scoreless first half.
Three minutes into the second half, Northern Arizona junior Jenna Samora had a try stopped by Williams off a cross from senior Brenna Boies, and two minutes later the Bengals' Laura Perez had a shot stopped by Rocke.
Perez had another try in the 51st minute sail just high over the NAU crossbar. The Lumberjacks got their first corner kick of the game in the 56th minute but couldn't capitalize, and three minutes later a lightning bolt in the distance forced the suspension of play.
The game resumed with both teams knowing that only 10 to 15 minutes of playing time was left and thus both squads wanted to ensure at least a point with a tie. Five combined shots were taken with no significant scoring opportunities until the officials ended the game with the clock at 72:31.
Rocke made four saves for her fifth straight shutout (one shared), extending her school record career total to 15 solo shutouts, with Williams making five saves for her blank sheet. NAU held an 8-7 shot advantage for the game with Monahan leading the way with three shots. Three yellow cards were handed out in the contest, with two cautions going to NAU.
Northern Arizona moves on to Ogden, Utah for a match against Weber State on Saturday at 11 a.m. Arizona time. The Wildcats (1-11-1) tied Northern Colorado, 1-1, earlier Thursday in their Big Sky opener. If the Lumberjacks hold the Wildcats scoreless for the first 74:19 on Saturday, they would break the school record shutout streak of 513:53.