FORT WORTH, Texas – The Northern Arizona soccer team (1-6-2), fresh off their first win of the season, heads to the state of Texas for the first two of four consecutive road matches. The Lumberjacks, currently on a three-game unbeaten streak, will take on TCU (5-4-0) in Fort Worth at 5 p.m. on Friday before heading off to Lubbock to battle Texas Tech (5-3-1) on Sunday at 11 a.m.
"It's a good road trip for us in the sense that we're playing two quality opponents," said head coach Andre Luciano. "It's a good weekend for us to continue growing as a program and creating positives."
Last Saturday, the Lumberjacks defeated Embry-Riddle, 3-1, courtesy of three first half goals by seniors Chelsea Bednarz and Sam Monahan and sophomore Elinor Priest. The goals were the first of the season for Bednarz and Priest, while Monahan's was her team-leading fourth of the season, putting her in a tie for fourth in the Big Sky. Sophomore Lauren Weaver gained her first win in goal in exactly a year, making four saves in the process.
The Horned Frogs of TCU split its two matches last weekend, suffering a narrow 3-2 loss to Stephen F. Austin on the road before returning home to shut out Northwestern State, 1-0. They have four shutouts on the season, but have also been shut out on three occasions. Senior Jordan Calhoun has three goals scored this season, all game-winners in 1-0 matches, and is the school's all-time leader in career points. The Horned Frogs have also received contributions from two freshmen, Tori Hale, the team's leader in shots, and Alicen Wright in goal, who has allowed just eight goals in nine games.
"TCU will be a very athletic team with some dangerous players," Luciano said. "Jordan Calhoun is their all-time points leader and is a dangerous threat, and Hale is a quick, dynamic player up top as well. TCU's philosophy is to keep numbers behind the ball and keep the ball in front of them, so it will be a spirited battle."
Texas Tech returns home after spending last weekend in the state of Arizona at the Cats Classic in Tucson. They defeated Arizona State, 5-0, and picked up a tie against the host Arizona, 0-0. Like TCU, the Red Raiders have played in a lot of shutouts this season, with eight of its nine games resulting in a shutout. They have received balanced scoring this season with 10 different players combining for the team's 13 goals. Senior Madison Terry and juniors Tiffini Smith and Dawn Ward each have two goals. Again like the Horned Frogs, sophomore Victoria Esson has provided the Red Raiders with strong play in goal, allowing just six goals for a 0.77 goals against average with four shutouts.
"Tech has a big game against Missouri on Friday and we know they're going to come guns blazing against us and we have to be prepared for that," Luciano said. "The most important thing for us is to establish a rhythm, which we've been working on this week. We want to get back to keeping the ball a little longer on possession and if both teams stay organized defensively, it'll come down to who capitalizes on their opportunities."
The Lumberjacks have met the Horned Frogs just once before, a 1-0 TCU victory in 2008 in Flagstaff, while this will be the first all-time meeting between NAU and Texas Tech.
Friday's game against TCU will be broadcast nationally on The Mtn. – MountainWest Sports Network on Channel 616.