MOSCOW, Idaho – Coming off a huge victory over Eastern Washington last week (Oct. 16), the Northern Arizona University women's soccer team used this momentum to propel them into yet another tough match at league-leading University of Idaho this afternoon, Oct. 21. The Lumberjacks and Vandals ended in a 2-2 draw, as Idaho scored in the final five seconds of regulation, making it NAU's sixth overtime match this season. Northern Arizona is now 6-7-4 overall and 3-2-3 in the Big Sky while Idaho remains atop the standings at 8-4-4 and 5-1-2 in the Big Sky.
"It's really disappointing because we battled so hard all game long and they scored in the final five seconds," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "Meghan Dickmann played so incredibly well and I'm just proud of everyone's resilience. This team continues to grow. They kept fighting and battling when they could have put their heads down heading into overtime."
Senior forward Ali Lixandru and junior forward Adrian Nixt were key components in the Lumberjacks' last win over a hot Eastern Washington squad. Today in Moscow was no different; Lixandru was the first to score in the sixth minute off a double-assist from Nixt and junior defender Riley Porter. With an early 1-0 lead, the Vandals responded in the 15th minute to tie the score 1-1.
Lixandru and Nixt were the only two players for NAU with shot attempts in the first 45 minutes of action. Despite Idaho's 10 first-half looks, owning Northern Arizona in the shots column by seven, the score remained 1-1 at the half. Junior goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann pieced together a strong first half herself coming up with two crucial saves. Dickmann stopped the Vandals' very first look of the afternoon in the 4th minute and tallied her second save nearly 30 minutes later.
Dickmann continued to be tested in goal as the Vandals had five quick looks to open up the second half and she added three more saves to her stat line in the 52nd, 63rd and 65th minutes. Northern Arizona went nearly 50 minutes without a shot attempt until Porter finally snapped the drought in the 71st minute. Porter's shot was just NAU's fourth attempt of the game – to Idaho's 19 at the time – but it was a golden one off an assist from junior forward Anna Goebel who had just been subbed into the game.
Porter's second goal this season, and second of her career, gave NAU a 2-1 edge over the Big Sky leaders heading into the final stretch. What appeared would be a victory, however, instantly shifted in the final five seconds of regulation as Idaho scored the equalizer to send the game into overtime. At the end of 90 minutes the Vandals had a 35-4 advantage in shot attempts, yet Dickmann and company did whatever they could to escape the heat.
Dickmann tied her career high nine saves in regulation and did not back down in overtime. In the first 40 seconds of overtime, in fact, she set a new season and career high 10 saves before ultimately ending the afternoon with 13 in 110 minutes of action. The Vandals ripped off a combined 11 shots in two 10-minute overtime periods and finished the game with 46 – the highest number of shots a team has ever attempted against NAU in program history.
The all-time series record between the two squad's moves to 0-2-2 in favor of the Vandals, but the Lumberjacks have yet to drop an overtime match this season. Northern Arizona is back in action Sunday, Oct. 23 at Idaho State in its second-to-last regular season game. Kick-off is set for 12 p.m. MST.