FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona will play three games over a 24 hour period on Friday and Saturday, culminating with the annual Alumni game to conclude the Spring schedule. The Lumberjacks will first play the NAU women's soccer club team on Friday night at 7 p.m. at the South Intramural Fields. On Saturday morning at Lumberjack Stadium, Northern Arizona will take on the Arizona State club team at 11:30 a.m. before facing the NAU soccer alums back on the South IM Fields at 7 p.m. Admission for all-three games is free.
The Lumberjacks have played three games so far during the Spring, hosting Oneonta State and Embry Riddle two weeks ago and facing Utah State last Saturday in Tempe. Head coach Andre Luciano has been pleased with the progress of his team is they prepare to defend their back-to-back Big Sky championships.
"I think our possession has been very good and our thought of play has been well executed. Overall our team shape is good and I feel that the players have a really good understanding of what I want them to do in terms of their possession," said Luciano. "I'm really happy with our strength and conditioning at this point leading into Summer, which is the most important part of the season in terms of preparation. I'm satisfied with our progress and I think they are pretty focused in terms of what we need to do to be ready for the Fall."
Several of Luciano's former players will return on Saturday to play against the current team, including soon-to-be graduates from the 2009 squad Sarah Neatherton and Gianara Campasano. Current NAU assistant coach and former player Holly Jones will suit up while NAU's career goals-against leader Liz Winkelblech will be in goal for the Alums. Other returning players will include Karla Lee, Emily Homan, Tai Powers, Karla Rogers, Lindsey Carey, Tschana Breslin and Kayla Bauder.
"I'm excited to have our alumni play our current team so I can get their assessment of where our team is at this point," added Luciano. "We keep in touch with the former players as much as possible but we'd like to keep them involved and get them out to games in the Fall as well. I hope they are able to come back when the stadium construction is complete.
"We want to end the Spring the way we started it, in terms of being focused and putting a lot of work in towards what we want to accomplish next year. It's been nice to have enough players to have a lot of intra-squad games but it will be good to see how we are physically able to handle playing three games in a 24-hour period."