Weaver Ties Career-High Saves, Leads Soccer to 1-0 Win At Weber State
OGDEN, Utah – Despite being outshot 24-8 on Friday, the Northern Arizona soccer team got a first half goal by freshman Cierra Gamble and received an outstanding performance by junior Lauren Weaver in goal to seal up a 1-0 victory over Weber State. The Lumberjacks improved to 2-0-0 in conference play and 4-5-2 overall, besting last season's overall win total in 11 games this season, with their third consecutive shutout.
"We played a very good Weber State team and we did what we needed to do win a game out on the road," said head coach Andre Luciano. "It wasn't pretty, but I'm really proud of the effort our players had."
The Lumberjacks withstood an early offensive barrage by the Wildcats early in the game as the home team put up five shots in the game's first nine minutes. Although the Wildcats outshot the Lumberjacks by a 13-7 margin in the first 45 minutes, it was the Lumberjacks who found the back of the net before halftime. In the 39th minute, freshman Nicole Sherwin gathered the rebound in the box off a blocked shot by junior Elinor Priest, before touching it over to freshman Cierra Gamble. Gamble would then finish it off with her second goal of the season, which would ultimately prove to be the game-winner.
Weber State would continue its offensive pressure down 1-0 in the second half and held a commanding 11-1 shot advantage in the final period with NAU's only shot coming from Priest in the 58th minute. The Wildcats also held a 5-2 corner kick advantage in the second half, but were unable to net the equalizer largely in part to the play of Weaver.
Weaver notched her second consecutive solo shutout and third straight shutout overall on Friday while tying her career-high of 11 saves – eight of which came in the decisive first half. She twice reached the 11-save mark last year, doing so at home against Ball State and on the road at Portland State. Also continuing a recent trend over the last four games, Weaver lowered her goals against average from 1.21 entering the game to 1.00 at the end of it.
"The stats don't even do her justice because Lauren was so big for us in coming out on crosses and deflecting balls into the box," Luciano said.
Gamble's second goal of the season brings her into a tie for the team-lead with freshman Haley Wingender. Gamble and Priest both recorded a team-best two shots on Friday. Sherwin's assist was the first of her career and also her first career points. She is now the seventh of 10 Lumberjack point-scorers to record her first career point this season.
The Lumberjacks will take their four-match unbeaten streak, 3-0-1 in that span, into Pocatello, Idaho on Sunday to take Idaho State to close out the weekend. The match is scheduled for a 10 a.m. start. The Bengals defeated Southern Utah on Friday, 2-1, and is now 6-4-1 overall and 1-1-1 in the conference. There will be live stats and a free audio stream of the game provided by ISU.