FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Oakland scored the game’s only
goal off a loose ball midway through the second half as the
Lumberjacks were shut out for the second consecutive game, 1-0. NAU
dropped to 1-3-1 with the loss while Oakland improved to 2-1-0. The
game was the second of two on the opening day of the NAU Mountain
Classic, with New Mexico topping Iowa, 1-0, earlier Friday.
Neither team had many quality chances in the first half, though a scary moment occurred in the 21st minute when junior Brandy Carr was fouled hard and remained on the ground for several minutes. She was eventually helped off the field and fortunately would return in the second half.
The first good scoring chance of the game came in the 28th minute, when Oakland senior Lindsey Blair found space to the right of the box. She appeared to have a clean shot but Northern Arizona defender Tori Howe was able to get in front of the try and deflect it over the goal.
The Lumberjacks had a chance to score in the 38th minute when junior Katie Tribbey maneuvered down the left side of the Grizzlies goal box. Her cross was deflected and found sophomore Jenna Samora, but her try was placed right at goalkeeper Whitney Sarkis for an easy save.
After a scoreless first half, Oakland would net the game’s only tally in the 62nd minute. A loose ball 15 yards out from the Northern Arizona goal was picked up by junior Meghan Hartwig, who’s pass attempted deflected to a wide open teammate. Sophomore Sarah Lynch was the lucky recipient, and the forward was able to chip the ball over oncoming Lumberjack goalkeeper Tori Rocke to give Oakland the lead.
The Lumberjacks would have their chances to even the score, with the best opportunities coming off a pair of corner kicks in the 84th minute. Junior Brenna Boies fired the ball into the box and found the head of teammate Sarah Neatherton, but the redirect hit an Oakland defender and went out of bounds. The ensuing corner kick was taken by Tribbey, but the Lumberjacks were unable to get a try on goal.
NAU tried desperately to find the equalizer in the final seconds, but the only successful shot attempt off the foot of Howe was blocked with 18 seconds remaining and cleared to solidify the Oakland victory.
The Lumberjacks attempted a season-high 13 shots in the contest, but put just five on goal and had very few legitimate scoring opportunities. Sarkis stopped all five attempts for her first career shutout while Rocke made two stops for Northern Arizona. Five NAU players attempted two shots apiece, with Tribbey the only to put both attempts on goal. The announced attendance of 1,278 fans represented another strong showing by the NAU faithful and was the fifth-largest crowd in Lumberjack Stadium history.
The NAU Mountain Classic continues on Sunday, with New Mexico facing Oakland at 11 a.m. and Northern Arizona battling Iowa at 1 p.m.
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