FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Just two non-conference games remain for the Northern Arizona University women's soccer team. Now 2-4-1 on the season, Head Coach Andre Luciano and the Lumberjacks will head to Colorado Springs, Colo. for a two-game road swing at the United States Air Force Academy and Colorado College on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. The 'Jacks are starting to hit their stride at the right time and look to build off a win and tie this past weekend (Sept. 9-11) in the Mountain Classic.
"I know I have a group of hard-working players that are capable of battling and competing against anyone," Luciano said. "I think we are still trying to figure out who we are in front of goal, but part of that has to do with injuries. If we continue working hard, good things will start happening for us."
*As of Sept. 12, junior goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann is tied for 29th in the country and tied for first in the Big Sky in shutouts (3) this season.
*Dickmann made her way into the NAU record books as she now has 62 career saves (10th).
*As of Sept. 12, junior forward Adrian Nixt is tied for 29th in the country and tied for first in the Big Sky in game-winning goals (2) this season.
*Nixt now has five career game-winning goals, which is tied for 6th in program history. She is also on the cusp of breaking into NAU's Top 10 in career points (28) and career goals (11).
*Northern Arizona is tied for first in the Big Sky in shutout percentage with a .429 clip.
Day: Friday, Sept. 16
Time: 5 p.m. MST
Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coverage: Live Stats | @NAUWomensSoccer
The Falcons, a member of the Mountain West Conference, currently hold a 2-1-1 record midway through the 2016 campaign with wins coming over Green Bay and Big Sky foe Weber State. Air Force will square off today (Sept. 13) against the University of Hawaii before playing Northern Arizona under the Friday night lights on Sept. 16. The Falcons are being led by freshman forward Bree Bezdek who has scored a team-best two goals this season, but four other players also have one goal to their name through five games. The Lumberjacks and Falcons have faced off just two times in program history, with NAU's last win coming in 2010 at home.
Day: Sunday, Sept. 18
Time: 11 a.m. MST
Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Also a member of the Mountain West Conference, Colorado College will be NAU's final non-conference game before a new season begins. The Tigers are 3-3 thus far with wins over University of Denver, University of Pittsburgh and most recently Utah Valley, who the 'Jacks lost to 4-1 in their home opener. Colorado College's sophomore forward Clara Richter has four goals through six games played and leads the team in shot attempts with 17. Lauren Milliet and Dana Gornick have two goals and one goal, respectively, rounding out the Tigers' seven total goals on the year. The all-time series record between Colorado College and Northern Arizona is 0-2-0 in favor of the Tigers. The two teams last played in 2004.
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.
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.