Soccer to Host Montana Friday, Play at Eastern Washington Sunday
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona (8-3-3, 3-0-1 BSC) brings a school-record eight game unbeaten streak into the final full weekend of Big Sky play, hosting Montana (2-11-2, 1-3-0 BSC) on Friday at 3 p.m. and playing at Eastern Washington (2-11-1, 2-2-0 BSC) on Sunday at 11 a.m. NAU has a slim one point lead over Sacramento State for first place in the conference. Friday's game at Lumberjack Stadium is a "Blizzard Match", as all fans are encouraged to wear white to show their support for the Lumberjacks. The SAAC (Student Athletic Advisory Committee) will be selling hot dogs and warm beverages at the game, with all proceeds going back to the student-athletes. Admission and parking for the match are free of charge.
The Lumberjacks saw their Big Sky record six-game shutout streak come to an end last Friday against Sacramento State but defeated the Hornets, 3-2, and topped Portland State, 2-0, on Sunday to remain undefeated in conference play. NAU's school-record shutout streak ended at 569 minutes and 2 seconds, as the Lumberjacks allowed a goal for the first time in over a month. NAU has outscored its opponents 14-2 over the last eight games.
As a result of their recent strong play, Northern Arizona earned its first ever NSCAA regional ranking on October 12. The Lumberjacks earned a No. 10 ranking in the October 12 NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Pacific Region poll and remain at No. 10 in this week's poll.
Junior forward Jenna Samora received a pair of distinctions this week, as she earned Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week honors and was named as a Primetime Performer by CollegeSoccer360.com. She becomes the first Lumberjack to win Offensive Player of the Week honors this season and is also the first NAU player to make the national College Soccer 360 Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll as one of 12 nationwide selections.
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 six straight home games and have allowed only two goals. NAU is 6-1-0 at home and 1-2-3 on the road with one neutral site game this year.
Live Stats will be available for Friday's game with a link on the women's soccer schedule page on nauathletics.com. Postgame recaps from both games will be provided on nauathletics.com and on the NAU Athletics fan page on Facebook.
Montana earned its first conference win last Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Idaho State, moving their record to 1-3-0 in the Big Sky. Montana had been out-scored 10-0 in its first-three conference games. The team went 1-8-2 in non-conference play, with their lone with coming at home against North Dakota. The Grizzlies are 0-6-1 in road games this season.
Senior forward Kaitlyn Heinsohn leads the team with four goals for eight points. Sophomore Erin Craig is second on the squad with two goals, as Montana has been outscored 34-7 this season. The Grizzlies have used three different goalies, with freshman Kendra McMillen playing the most minutes and posting a 1.79 goals against average. Montana is last in the Big Sky in goals per game (0.47) and has the highest goals against average in the conference (2.20).
Northern Arizona is just 4-11-1 all-time against Montana. Last season, the Lumberjacks rallied for a 2-1 overtime win over the Grizzlies in Flagstaff.
Eastern Washington started the season 0-11-1 before picking up a pair of conference wins last weekend over Idaho State, 2-0, and Weber State, 2-1. The team had been out-scored 31-9 for the year before breaking out with two Big Sky wins. The Eagles are second to last in every offensive category in the Big Sky, ahead of only Montana, but do lead the conference with 112 total saves.
Despite the team's overall offensive struggles, junior forward Whitney Brannan leads the Big Sky with eight goals and 18 points. Senior forward Brittany Sparks, an All-Big Sky First Team selection in 2009, has three goals and four assists for eight points on the season. Sophomore Jamie Walker has taken over in goal for the Eagles and has a 1.99 goals against average. She allowed just one goal last week in earning Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The Lumberjacks are 8-4-0 all-time against the Eagles, who finished second in the Big Sky regular season standings in 2009. Northern Arizona has won its last-five meetings with Eastern Washington, including a 4-2 home win last year.