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October 12, 2012

Soccer Explodes for 4-0 Shutout of North Dakota

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Sophomore Emily Roth got the scoring underway just seconds before the end of the first half and consequently opened the floodgates for the Northern Arizona soccer team on Friday as the Lumberjacks picked up a 4-0 victory over North Dakota. The shutout was NAU's third consecutive and fifth in six conference matches and the four goals marked a season-high as the Lumberjacks improved to 5-6-4 overall and 3-1-2 in conference play.

"North Dakota played us very hard in the first 45 minutes and then we were fortunate to get a great goal by Emily Roth from about 40 yards out with three seconds left on the clock," said head coach Andre Luciano. "I thought that swung the momentum our way going into the half and in the second half we played extremely composed. We started looking to possess and combine a little better which created a lot of different chances for us."

Against a North Dakota squad that's allowed the most goals in the Big Sky this season, the Lumberjacks looked to push the action early with two shots in the first two minutes. NAU continued to be the aggressors throughout the first half, but were unable to find the back of the net until the 44:57 mark with three seconds remaining in the half. After UND tried to kill the clock, Roth ended up with the ball just a few steps in from the midfield line and blasted a shot towards the goal. Roth's shot would hit off the post and into the top left corner of the net to give NAU the 1-0 halftime lead.

With momentum on their side, the Lumberjacks burst out of the gates in the second half. Freshman Demi Schmieder had an early breakaway opportunity a mere 39 seconds into the second period, but the North Dakota goalkeeper denied her of the game's second goal. Schmieder would have another opportunity in the 52nd minute and capitalized this time around with her second goal of the season. Six minutes later, she extended the NAU lead to 3-0 with her second goal of the game off an assist by Roth. The 3-0 score would hold until the 87th minute when junior Elinor Priest tacked on the final goal of the game off a double assist from junior Jordan Stenger and sophomore Kelly Whelan.

The Lumberjacks outshot UND by a 15-11 margin and has now not allowed a goal in their last 367:00 minutes over their last three-plus games since giving up a goal to Idaho State on Sept. 30. Junior Lauren Weaver, this week's Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week, continued her Big Sky dominance with three saves and her fifth conference shutout of the season.

With her two goals, Schmieder now leads the team with three goals this season while notching her first career multi-goal game. She also led the team with four shots on Friday, all of which came on goal. Roth recorded three points, the first points of her career, on the day and Priest's score was her first of the season. Whelan's assist was her second this season while Stenger picked up her first career point.

NAU recorded its second multi-goal game of the season and first since a 2-0 defeat of Florida Atlantic on Aug. 31. The four goals were also the most the Lumberjacks have had in a game since a 5-0 shutout of Montana on Oct. 22, 2010.

With the victory, the Lumberjacks are now at 11 points in the conference and will enter Sunday's match at Northern Colorado in either a tie for third or a tie for fourth depending on the remaining outcomes within the Big Sky on Friday. The Lumberjacks will play the Bears on Sunday at 11 a.m. in Greeley, Colo.