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August 20, 2011

Soccer Aims to Salvage Season Opening Road Trip Against Southern Utah

CEDAR CITY, Utah – Following a loss in their season opener Friday night, the Northern Arizona soccer team looks to claim their first victory of the season when they take on Southern Utah, Sunday afternoon in Cedar City, Utah. Like the Lumberjacks, who fell 7-0 to Arizona State on Friday, the Thunderbirds also were shut out in their first game of the season, 2-0 to Idaho State.

Southern Utah returns their top four goal scorers from 2010 in senior Riley Bassett (seven goals) and juniors Shelby Ostler (five goals), Missy Lazcano (four goals) and Stacey Brinkman (three goals). In total, the Thunderbirds return 14 letterwinners and seven starters from their 2010 team that went 5-11-1 and finished eight in the Summit League. This is the final season for Southern Utah in the Summit League before they become a full member of the Big Sky in 2012-13 along with the University of North Dakota.

"Southern Utah is a tough place to play," said head coach Andre Luciano. "They always work extremely hard at home and we expect a tough, physical game. They join the Big Sky Conference next year, so they feel like they have a lot to prove. It's been a huge rivalry for us in terms of the competition and intensity, and I expect it to be the same way on Sunday."

The Lumberjacks on the other hand, will try to get on track after attempting just one shot against the Sun Devils on Friday. It was just the second time in school history that the Lumberjacks attempted only one shot in a game.

This will be the tenth overall meeting between the two teams and fifth in as many seasons. NAU holds the overall edge over the Thunderbirds at 8-0-1 in the all-time series, including 3-0 in Cedar City.

Last season's meeting took place in Flagstaff, won by the Lumberjacks, 3-0. Kristi Andreassen, Corie McGuire and Chelsea Bednarz scored for NAU and they held a 23-13 shot advantage over Southern Utah. A total of 24 Lumberjacks saw action in last season's match.