FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Northern Arizona came back to tie the game at 2-2 and 3-3 before Arizona State scored the game winner with just 1:06 left in regulation to give the Sun Devils a 4-3 win in each team's season opener. The Lumberjacks start the regular season with a loss following last Saturday's 7-1 exhibition victory over Embry-Riddle.
"I'm crushed," said head coach Andre Luciano following the match. "I thought our team fought so hard in the second half to come back and tie the game twice, and to lose it at the end of regulation is extremely disappointing. We've got a lot to work on but this was a good way to open the season. We wanted to begin the year against a quality opponent and this was a good, open game."
Arizona State, who like NAU reached the NCAA Tournament a season ago, dominated the first stanza of the contest and would take a commanding lead into halftime. The Sun Devils got on the board first in the 18th minute, as sophomore Sierra Cook fired a shot on the NAU goal that took a bad hop and skidded by Lumberjack goalkeeper Tori Rocke to give the visitors the early lead. ASU would add to its advantage in the 32nd minute, with freshman Miah Mollay burying a try from the top of the box to give the Sun Devils a 2-0 lead that they would take into the break.
The Lumberjacks came out firing in the second half and cut the deficit in half in the 51st minute. Senior Kristi Andreassen attempted a free kick from near midfield, with the try deflecting off the hands of Sun Devil goalkeeper Alyssa Gilmore and into the net to make the score 2-1. Just over six minutes later, NAU senior Sam Monahan set up junior Jenna Samora for a try from 20 yards out, and the Lumberjacks' 2009 scoring leading would net her first tally of 2010 on a shot off the crossbar and right post and into the ASU goal to even the score at 2-2.
In the 64th minute, the Sun Devils would answer back. ASU senior Jill Shoquist deflected a ball along the Lumberjack end line to teammate Devin Marshall, who was able to direct the ball off the left post of the NAU goal and across the line to put Arizona State back on top. NAU would answer again less than three minutes later, as Monahan had a shot stopped by Gilmore but the rebound came to Lumberjack junior Ashley Marrapode, who would fire into the vacated goal to knot the score once again at 3-3.
The game appeared destined for overtime, but the Sun Devils would net the winner in the waning moments of regulation. ASU senior Alexandra Elston corralled a loose ball in front of the NAU goal and sent it across to teammate Karin Volpe, who was able to deflect the ball past Rocke to give Arizona State a 4-3 advantage that would not be relinquished.
After being out-shot 9-1 in the first half, NAU held an 11-7 shot advantage in the second half. Rocke and Gilmore each made five saves, with all-five of Gilmore's stops coming in the second half. Andreassen paced the lumberjacks with four shots, placing three on goal, while Volpe attempted five shots to lead the victorious Sun Devils. Despite a total of seven goals being tallied, Monahan (two assists) was the only player in the game to be involved in the scoring of more than one goal.
The Lumberjacks will look to rebound on Sunday, making a quick trip to El Paso, Texas for a 12 p.m. game at UTEP.