COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team pick up its first road victory of the 2016 campaign to close out the non-conference season this afternoon, Sept. 18. Freshman defender Amanda Bennett and junior defender Riley Porter both recorded their first career goals, and junior forward Adrian Nixt notched the golden goal in overtime for her third goal this season and third game-winner. Head Coach Andre Luciano and the Lumberjacks are now 3-5-1 as they head into Big Sky action this Friday, Sept. 23 versus Portland State.
"We came out of the locker room with an attitude of 'it's time to start taking games away from people'," Luciano said. "I challenged them to start believing in themselves and start playing with a winning mentality. This is the first time we've fought back after being down all season long."
The Lumberjacks got off to a quick start in the first half, firing off nine shots to Colorado College's 15. Redshirt junior Missy Kettelkamp's free kick, less than 10 minutes in, landed right in Tiger territory but the 'Jacks were unable to finish. Northern Arizona certainly had no trouble creating opportunities in the first 45 minutes as Kettelkamp had a pretty-looking header off Ali Lixandru's corner kick not long after.
Junior goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann recorded her first of seven saves, a new season high and just two off her career best, with 27 minutes left in period one before freshman forward Shelbie O'Connor and Nixt each responded with looks for NAU. While O'Connor's ball just skimmed the crossbar, Colorado College was forced to make a great play on Nixt's attempt in the 23rd minute.
Nixt fired back with another strong one-on-one opportunity but her chip shot resulted in another save for the Tigers. Sophomore forward Maddie Waszak had arguably the best look of the half for Northern Arizona in the 37th minute. Although it looked like it was going in from a mile away, her ball caught the crossbar to keep the score deadlocked at 0-0.
In the 42nd minute, the Tigers lucked out with a penalty kick and an opportunity to tally the go-ahead goal. Dickmann came up with a huge save off the initial PK, but it bounced off her hands where Colorado College was able to follow up and tap it in to make the score 1-0 at the half.
To open up the second period, NAU had four immediate looks to close CC's shot-attempt advantage to two (15-13). Lixandru had two consecutive attempts but missed high and wide, respectively. The Lumberjacks' attack mentality on the offensive end finally paid off in the 52nd minute when Bennett found the back of the net, after the ball bounced around the goalie box a few times, for her first goal in 2016 as well as her first career goal.
For the go ahead-goal in the 67th minute, Porter's high-arching ball from downtown gave NAU its first lead of the afternoon. Unfortunately for NAU, Porter and Bennett's first career goals were not enough in regulation as the Tigers were granted another penalty kick in the 75th minute to tie the game back up at two. Dickmann notched another impressive save just before in the 74th minute, but the Tiger PK was placed perfectly for the equalizer. All the Lumberjacks needed was a minute in overtime to walk away victorious. Nixt tallied yet another game-winner off a beautiful cross from Lixandru to seal the win.
"The second penalty kick really fired us up," Luciano added. "We've been fighting all season long, but this is the first time our fight has paid off. I challenged some players to step up and they did. I've said it all season long that we have the ability to be a really good team if we have faith and trust the process."