FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona (6-3-3, 1-0-1 BSC) takes a school and Big Sky record six game shutout streak into their first home conference games of the season. The Lumberjacks will face a pair of teams that opened conference play last weekend at 2-0-0, hosting Sacramento State (5-6-1 overall) on Friday at 3 p.m. and Portland State (6-7-1 overall) on Sunday at noon. Northern Arizona also announced that the start time for the Lumberjacks home game against Northern Colorado on Oct. 29 has been moved from 3 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to ensure sufficient daylight for the completion of the contest. Admission and parking for all games at Lumberjack Stadium are free of charge.
The Lumberjacks eclipsed the Big Sky record of five consecutive shutouts, set by Montana in 1997 and equaled by NAU in 2007, with their 2-0 win over Weber State last Sunday. NAU has not allowed a goal since the 82:56 mark against USC on September 12 and has kept its opponents scoreless for a school-record 529 minutes and 35 seconds. NAU has a 5-0-1 record during the shutout stretch, having outscored its opponents 9-0 and allowing a total of just 22 shots on goal in six games.
As a result of their recent strong play, Northern Arizona earned its first ever NSCAA regional ranking when the most recent polls were released on Tuesday. The Lumberjacks earned a No. 10 ranking in the October 12 NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Pacific Region poll. A pair of NAU's non-conference opponents, USC and Arizona State, also appear in the regional rankings at No. 4 and 6, respectively.
Senior Defender Kristi Andreassen earned her third Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week award for her performance last weekend, giving the Lumberjacks the award for the fourth straight week. Junior goalkeeper Tori Rocke earned the honor for the period of Sept. 27 - Oct. 3 after breaking the NAU career shutout record with her 14th solo blank sheet in a 1-0 win over San Francisco. Andreassen earned the award during the two prior weeks, as during NAU's four week, six game shutout streak a Lumberjack player has won the league honor each week. The Lumberjacks four-straight Defensive Player of the Week awards are the first such streak in the Big Sky since NAU accomplished the feat during the first four weeks of the season in 2007.
Sacramento State began conference play with a pair of home wins last weekend, defeating Montana, 3-0, on Friday and Eastern Washington, 1-0, on Sunday. Sacramento State went 3-6-1 in non-conference play, including a 0-0 double overtime tie with then-No. 24 Long Beach State. They have a 4-3 home record this season but are 1-2-1 on the road and 0-1 on neutral turf.
Senior forward Leah Larot leads the team and the Big Sky with seven goals this season. Sophomore Jordan Carlberg has added three goals and four assists for 10 points and was earned Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week honors last week. Junior goalkeeper Savannah Abercrombie has a 1.01 goals against average and five shutouts this season. She has 21 career shutouts to tie the Big Sky career record.
The Lumberjacks are 9-5-0 all-time against Sacramento State, including a 2-1 loss in Sacramento last season. NAU is 6-0 all-time against Sacramento State in Lumberjack Stadium. The Hornets were picked to finish second in the Big Sky in the preseason coaches' poll, earning one first-place vote.
Portland State, the defending Big Sky regular season champion, scored 3-0 victories over both Eastern Washington and Montana at home last weekend to open Big Sky play and end a five-game winless streak entering the conference season. The Vikings played a difficult non-conference schedule, facing a pair of nationally ranked teams in Portland (1-0 loss) and Oregon State (1-0 loss). The team is 3-1-1 at home this year but just 1-6 on the road.
Portland State has been lead offensively by senior Frankie Ross and Junior Mellisa Trammel, who each have four goals this season, after the team lost 2009 Big Sky Offensive MVP Dolly Enneking to graduation. Senior Rachel Jarvis and sophomore Lainey Hulsizer have split time in goal, with Jarvis starting 11 games and both contests last weekend.
The Lumberjacks are 9-4-2 all-time against Portland State. The Lumberjacks scored a 1-0 home win over the Vikings during the regular season last year before the teams met again in the Big Sky Championship semifinals in Portland, where NAU defeated PSU 4-3 in penalty kicks after the game was tied 1-1 after two OT's. The Vikings have not defeated the Lumberjacks since 2006.
After starting NAU's season opener and then recovering from a minor injury, junior goalkeeper Tori Rocke has returned to the Lumberjack goal and recorded six-straight shutouts (one shared). Her blank sheet in the Lumberjack's 1-0 win over San Francisco on Oct. 1 was her 14th career solo shutout, surpassing former Lumberjack Liz Winkelblech for the NAU career record. Since returning to the NAU goal in the last five-plus games, Rocke has made 17 saves while not allowing a goal and increasing her school-record career shutout total to 16.
In addition to breaking the career shutout record, Rocke is also the all-time leader among NAU goalies in career win percentage (.602), is third in program history in career saves (225), and is fifth in fewest goals against (62). She is five shutouts away from tieing the Big Sky career record of 21.
Through six games last season, NAU was 1-4-1 before riding a four-game winning streak into conference play and an eventual Big Sky Championship title. Through six games this season, the Lumberjack record was almost identical at 1-3-2, and NAU again put together a four-game winning streak to begin conference play.
NAU was 6-2-1 at home in 2009, are 4-1-0 at home so far this season, and has four of its last-five conference games in Lumberjack Stadium.
Despite the ongoing overhaul of Lumberjack Stadium, Northern Arizona has continued to enjoy great success on its home field. After falling to Arizona State, 4-3, in the season opener, the Lumberjacks have won four straight home games and have not allowed a single goal. NAU is 4-1-0 at home and 1-2-3 on the road with one neutral site game this season.