NAU Soccer To Host Annual Mountain Classic This Weekend, Sept. 9-11

Freshman defender Sebrina Rodriguez
Freshman defender Sebrina Rodriguez

Mountain Classic Game Notes

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team (1-4) enters the week searching for another win this season as they are set for the annual NAU Mountain Classic. Head Coach Andre Luciano and the Lumberjacks will play host to three teams in Grand Canyon University, University of Illinois-Chicago and University of New Mexico. Northern Arizona will take on Illinois-Chicago on Friday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. and New Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.

Friday's (Sept. 9) game will also be International Night where fans are encouraged to wear their nation's colors. Sunday (Sept. 11) will be Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day. For more information regarding tickets, game times, game coverage and opponents, you can visit the Mountain Classic page here.

2016 Notables

-Four different Lumberjacks have scored for NAU this season: Mei-Te Coco (sophomore), Adrian Nixt (junior), Malia Lyken (freshman) and Anna Goebel (junior).

-Mei-Te Coco was named to the UNLV Invitational All-Tournament Team the weekend of Aug. 26-28.

-Malia Lyken scored her first career goal off a penalty kick against Utah Valley in NAU's home opener on Aug. 19.

-Three out of 12 true freshmen have appeared in all five games this season for the 'Jacks: Amanda Bennett, Heather Donais and Shelbie O'Connor.

The Scout

Illinois-Chicago

Day: Friday, Sept. 9

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Flagstaff, Ariz.

Coverage

  • FOX Sports Arizona PLUS will air live
  • DISH: 446 SD/9516 HD               
  • 412-34 Hopper DTV: 686-1 SD & HD
  • FOX College Sports Atlantic will air live
  • FOX Sports Arizona will replay the match on Friday, September 9th at 2:00 am

The Flames, picked 8th in the Horizon League preseason polls, come into Friday's contest at 1-3-2 overall with their most recent win coming over New Mexico State at the end of August. They have lost their last two games, but gave Big 12 foe Baylor University a run for their money falling 1-0 on Sept. 4. Illinois-Chicago returns a handful of talent in preseason Goalkeeper of the Year Kelly Fritz, 2015 Second Team selections Olivia Everin and Madison Pollard in addition to Naomi Rushe – a 2015 All-Freshmen Team selection.

This season, the Flames are being led by junior forward Emily Wauer who has two of Illinois-Chicago's five goals in 2016 while assisting on one. Wauer leads the team in points, but sophomore midfielder Rebeca Pallo is not far behind also connecting on two goals this season for four points. This will be the first time in program history NAU takes on UIC.

New Mexico

Day: Sunday, Sept. 11

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: Flagstaff, Ariz.

Coverage

  • FOX Sports Arizona will air on tape delay on September 11th at 5:00 pm
  • FOX College Sports Pacific will air on tape delay on September 11th at 5:00 pm
  • FOX Sports Arizona will replay the match on Monday, September 12th at 2:00 am

Currently 2-2-1 in 2016, the Lobos have had somewhat of a daunting schedule playing nothing but road games with two of those being against ranked opponents in – at the time – No.  19 Texas Tech and No. 21 California. New Mexico was tabbed third in the Mountain West preseason polls and is currently being led by Maddie Irwin – an All-Mountain West Second Team pick last season – and Claire Lynch who has two goals through five games played in the 2016 campaign. The Lobos will face Grand Canyon on Friday (Sept. 9) prior to playing the Lumberjacks.

Looking Ahead

After the Mountain Classic, the 'Jacks will head to Colorado Springs, Colo. for a two-game road swing. The Lumberjacks will face Airforce on Friday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. MST and Colorado College at 10 a.m. MST on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Veteran Affairs

It's no secret that the 'Jacks graduated a bulk of their starters including four All-Big Sky selections from 2015. But with change, comes new opportunity. With seniors like Dani Muniz and Lindsay Doyle, as well as redshirt junior Missy Kettelkamp, there still is no shortage of experience for NAU.

Muniz appeared in all 19 games last season at defender while Doyle appeared in 18. At forward, Doyle strung together a solid junior season scoring four goals – tied for second on the team with Adrian Nixt – and two assists for 10 points. Kettelkamp, too, brings a strong mix of experience to the table after proving in 2015 she can defend and put the ball in the back of the net.

Youth Movement

Given that 26 players of NAU's 36-player roster are underclassmen, the growth ahead is inevitable. With 15 freshmen aboard the Lumberjack train – 12 newcomers and three redshirts – Luciano and his squad are bound and determined to use what's in front of them as an advantage. Without any one, star player to rely on, Luciano summed up his expectations for this year's team in one word: united.