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Late Rally Lifts Women’s Soccer Over Montana in Overtime, 2-1

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Senior Sarah Neatherton capped a Northern Arizona comeback with a goal in the seventh minute of overtime after sophomore Jenna Samora tied the game with just three minutes and 10 seconds left in regulation as the Lumberjacks got past Montana, 2-1, on Friday afternoon at Lumberjack Stadium. Northern Arizona improved to 8-7-1 overall and 3-2-0 in the Big Sky while Montana fell to 3-12-1 and 1-3-1 in conference play.

The Grizzlies took the early lead on Friday and almost made it stand up despite being out-shot 24-2 for the game. Montana was awarded a free kick just past the midfield line, and freshman Lauren Costa took the set piece and sent a lob into the NAU box. The feed found junior Frankie Brady, who was unmarked in front of the Lumberjack goal and got the ball past goalkeeper Tori Rocke to give Montana the early lead.

The Lumberjacks had several quality scoring chances through the remainder of the half, but Montana took a 1-0 lead into the half as the visitors scored on their only shot in the opening 45 minutes.

Northern Arizona would possess the ball on the Montana side of the field for almost the entire second half, continuously coming close to the equalizer. Neatherton missed a chip shot just high in the 77th minute and in the 84th minute junior Sam Monahan hit the left post off a cross.

The Lumberjacks would finally find the equalizer in the 87th minute. Junior Kristi Andreassen sent a long pass down the left side of the field and found Samora, who was able to dribble past Montana goalkeeper Grace Harris and slide the ball into the empty net to send the game to overtime tied 1-1.

Northern Arizona continued on the attack in the extra session and found the game winner in the 97th minute. A failed clearance by the Grizzlies put the ball on the feat of Netherton, who dribbled past a defender and went 1-on-1 with the Montana keeper. The senior fired a shot to the top left side of the goal to give the Lumberjacks a hard-fought 2-1 win.

“I thought our players were very disciplined and continued going forward without putting their heads down,” said head coach Andre Luciano. “Jenna’s goal was just pure gutsy brilliance and I’m so happy for Sarah to score a huge goal for us in overtime. I’m proud of my team, but we’ve got a lot of unfinished business.”

NAU dominated the game statistically, holding the aforementioned 24-2 shot advantage and recording a 10-2 advantage in shots on goal. Andreassen, Monahan and Neatherton each took a team-high five shots, and the Lumberjacks held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks. Rocke made one save in the victory while Harris stopped eight shots for Montana. Northern Arizona was whistled for a season-high 11 offsides infractions.

The Lumberjacks close their home schedule on Sunday, hosting conference-leading Eastern Washington at noon at Lumberjack Stadium. Prior to kickoff, the team will honor graduating seniors Neatherton, Gianara Campasano, Penny Short, Sarah Vallen and Kara Vitacca.