SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The Northern Arizona soccer team responded quickly after ceding a goal to San Francisco and then battled the rest of the way through to a 1-1 tie with the Dons Friday night at Negoesco Stadium. Freshman Haley Wingender put in her second goal of the season a mere 21 seconds after the home team struck first, putting the Lumberjacks in position to earn the tie and move to 1-4-1 in their first of two games this weekend in northern California.
"Tonight we showed our resilience as a young group," said head coach Andre Luciano. "I think for us to give up a goal and capitalize 21 seconds later shows how hungry this group is. We had some near-misses but those are going to come. The important thing is that we put ourselves in position to score goals. Last year, I think we fought not to lose a game and tonight we came out and played like we wanted to win this game."
The Dons got on the scoreboard first at the 16:07 mark and took a 1-0 lead as USF's top scorer Mackenzie Kreiser scored her fourth goal of the season off an assist by Christina Moberg. But the USF lead would be very brief, as a handball by the home team gave the Lumberjacks a free kick just seconds after the resulting kickoff. Senior Georgia Foltz took the free kick and Wingender would find the equalizer at the 16:28 mark to tie the game.
After giving up the quick tying score, San Francisco would control the tempo the rest of the first half and into the second half. However with neither team able to find the game-winner, the teams headed to overtime, the first time this season that NAU had reached extra periods.
Beginning with the first overtime, the Lumberjacks turned the tables on the Dons and were the aggressors. While they allowed San Francisco to a single shot in each of the two extra periods, NAU outshot the home team 6-2 in the final 20 minutes and narrowly missed two chances to net the golden goal.
The first opportunity came just seconds before the end of the first overtime when junior Elinor Priest had her initial shot saved by USF goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel. But on the play, Schiffel came charging out to make the stop, so as the shot ricocheted to freshman Demi Schmieder, the Lumberjacks had a wide open net only for Schimeder's rebound shot to skip just wide right of the goal. NAU would have one more prime scoring chance towards the end of the second extra period in the 108th minute as Wingender had a slight breakaway. However, Wingender's attempt also went just wide right, forcing the Lumberjacks to settle for a 1-1 draw.
San Francisco owned a small 15-13 advantage in shots, but the Lumberjacks outshot the Dons by a combined 10-8 following the intermission including the aforementioned 6-2 advantage in the extra periods.
"We're growing up a little more every game and for us to go on the road in a different environment, it all started in the second half," Luciano said. "We started taking away their attack in the second half and that speaks volumes of our team's resilience."
Wingender recorded seven of the team's 13 shots in the game, which marked a career-high for her to go along with her second goal of the season. Junior Lauren Weaver made her second start of the season in goal and posted five saves and allowed just the one goal while playing the full 110:00 minutes.
The Lumberjacks wrap up their weekend in northern California on Sunday when they make the short trip to Davis, Calif. to take on UC Davis at 1 p.m. The Aggies are 3-1-1 this season after dropping their first match of the season Friday night to California, 2-1, in double overtime.