FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Prior to Sunday's match, the Northern Arizona soccer team honored its nine graduating seniors as part of the Senior Day celebration. Then the Lumberjacks hit the field and the seniors imposed their will on Eastern Washington. Seniors Sam Monahan, Jenna Samora and Noel Guevara each scored a goal, the second time this season that the three players all scored in the same game, and the Lumberjacks concluded their season with a 3-0 win over the Eagles at Lumberjack Stadium.
"The seniors left it all out on the field like I asked them to," said head coach Andre Luciano. "For four years, they've given me everything that they could've and they stepped up today at home."
Monahan gave the Lumberjacks a 1-0 halftime lead in the 29th minute when she received a pass from Samora and connected on a shot from 25 yards out into the lower right corner of the net. The goal was Monahan's team-leading seventh of the season and 13th of her career, putting her in sole possession of eighth all-time in the school record book.
Both teams were playing to a scoreless second half until Samora dribbled the ball through the Eagle defense and provided the Lumberjacks with their second goal of the game in the 72nd minute. The game's scoring was completed 12 minutes later when Guevara found the back of the net off a centered ball by senior Chelsea Bednarz. Samora and Guevara's goals were their fifth and second of the season respectively.
The three goal scorers also accounted for all three of the Lumberjacks' goals in their 3-2 victory over Idaho State on October 7.
"Today we showed a lot of class and character as a team," Monahan said. "We could've thrown in the towel because things didn't go the way we wanted, but we finished how we should've and I think that it was really impressive that we did that as a team."
The Lumberjacks outshot the Eagles by a 19-10 margin for the game. Out of the 19 shots that the team took, the seniors accounted for 18 of them. Samora and Bednarz each had a team-high five attempts, with Monahan and Ashley Marrapode behind with three shots a piece. Guevara and Katie Tribbey also had one shot each.
"It was good to see those people that I've played with for four years step up and put numbers on the board today," said junior Ethi Ethridge. "We've worked so hard for this."
Sunday's match marked the final game in the Lumberjack blue and gold for Samora, Monahan, Guevara, Bednarz, Marrapode, Tribbey, Teesdale, Ethridge and Ally Cwiekowski. They wrap up their careers with 417 games of experience and 24 Big Sky championships between them.
Samora finishes her career fourth all-time in points, goals, game-winning goals and shots and also played in her 81st career game on Sunday, setting a new school record for career games played. Monahan wraps up her four years at NAU second in assists, sixth in points, seventh in shots and eighth in goals. Marrapode also finishes her career with 78 games played, good for a tie for fifth in school history.
"It was an emotional roller coaster," Samora said. "You're crying one second and you're excited the next. We weren't ready to go out like this, but we're happy with how the game ended."
The win concludes an up and down 2011 season for the Lumberjacks. They will miss the conference tournament for the first time in four years, finishing the season fifth in the conference with a 3-9-7 overall record and 2-2-3 Big Sky record. The Lumberjacks played in nine overtime matches and 17 extra periods totaling 157:25 minutes, to go along with a Big Sky record seven ties.
"This win was huge," Luciano said. "It validifies that our kids have been fighting every single game and there hasn't been a game that they've quit. It would've been easy for them to lay down and die with the season we've had. We've been in so many games this year with the overtimes and the ties. We've been very fortunate three of the last four years and I'm ecstatic that we ended the season the way we did. It just wasn't our year."