GREELEY, Colo. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team, coming off a victory at North Dakota, closed out the weekend up north versus Northern Colorado on the Bears' home turf. Head Coach Andre Luciano's squad certainly put up a fight, but fell short at Northern Colorado today, Oct. 9, by a final score of 3-0. The Lumberjacks are now 5-7-2 on the year and 2-2-1 in the Big Sky while the Bears move to 8-5-1 overall and 3-2 in the Big Sky.
"Our backs and midfielders did a great job of shutting down their forwards and midfielders," Luciano said. "We dominated possession in certain areas of the field and out-shot Northern Colorado 21-10. We created a lot of opportunities, but had a lack of execution in front of goal. UNC's goalkeeper had an incredible game, perhaps the most complete game I've seen by a keeper in my 16 years here."
Coming into today's (Oct. 9) match, the Lumberjacks knew they would have their hands full. Not only does Northern Colorado's Mariel Guttierez lead the Big Sky in points this season and is tied for first in goals with seven, the Bears also entered the game with a perfect 5-0 clip at home. The urgency was evident for Northern Arizona to open up the first half as Lindsay Doyle and Adrian Nixt combined for seven of the Lumberjacks' nine first-half looks.
The Bears managed to take a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute off a soaring goal that appeared next to impossible to save. Junior goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann, just moments after UNC stole the lead, was tested yet again but came up with her lone save of the first period. Despite the plethora of opportunities NAU created in the first 20 minutes, Northern Colorado was firing on all cylinders as the first half winded down. The Lumberjacks did have the edge in shot attempts through 45 minutes of action, 9-6, but three of the Bears' six looks were on goal.
Luciano's crew has been plagued with penalty kicks this season and the trend unfortunately continued in Greeley. In the 38th minute, the Bears went up 2-0 after a foul was called on NAU deep in Lumberjack territory. Gutierrez took the attempt and walked away with her league-best eighth goal of 2016.
In the second half, Northern Arizona did not back down offensively and picked up two penalty kicks along the way. Northern Colorado's goalkeeper did the nearly unthinkable and picked up saves on both attempts – Nixt's in the 51st minute and redshirt junior defender Missy Kettelkamp's in the 55th minute. The 'Jacks continued to rattle off shots in the last 45 minutes, more than doubling UNC's attempts (17-8) through 70 minutes of action. The Bears, however, had better luck finishing and scored their third goal in the 68th minute to go up 3-0.
The Lumberjacks return to Flagstaff for homecoming weekend versus Montana on Friday, Oct. 14 and current Big Sky leader Eastern Washington on Sunday, Oct. 16. Game times are set for 7 p.m. and 12 p.m., respectively, in Lumberjack Stadium.