Soccer Drops Big Sky Finale, 1-0, to Montana
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona soccer team surrendered an early Montana goal on Sunday and the score held as the Lumberjacks dropped their Big Sky Conference finale, 1-0, to the Grizzlies. NAU finished the conference season with an even 3-3-3 record and fell to 5-8-5 this season heading into its regular season finale this upcoming Friday versus CSU Bakersfield.
Montana got on the board in the eight minute courtesy of a goal by Mary Makris. Makris received a pass from the right side of the field into the box by Mackenzie Akins and flipped the ball into the back of the net past junior Lauren Weaver. With a 1-0 lead in hand, the Grizzlies pressed the action throughout the remainder of the half, outshooting the Lumberjacks by a 9-2 margin and recording five corner kicks to none by NAU. Despite the consistent pressure from the Grizzlies, the Lumberjacks were able to keep the deficit at 1-0 entering halftime.
The Lumberjacks would have their best scoring opportunity to net the equalizer early in the second half in the 53rd minute when junior Shawnee Morgan received a lead ball into the box. However, Morgan's shot from 10 yards out just skipped wide right of the net. NAU would put just one more shot up at the 72-minute mark off the foot of sophomore Emily Roth, but Roth's shot sailed high as Montana held on for the win.
"The score is indicative of what we've gone through all season long," said head coach Andre Luciano. "We haven't been able to put the ball into the back of the net and we've struggled offensively. Defensively we did a great job, but we just can't put the ball into the back of the net."
Montana held a 14-4 advantage in shots throughout the match and totaled 10 corner kicks to NAU's one. Weaver made six saves on Sunday to boost her conference total to 63 in nine Big Sky matches. Weaver finished the conference portion of the season with six shutouts and allowed just eight goals in 870:00 minutes. Morgan, Roth and sophomores Savannah Berry and Sarah Tarver each tallied a shot against the Grizzlies.
The Lumberjacks wrap up their season with Senior Night on Friday versus CSU Bakersfield. It will be the final games in an NAU uniform for seniors Georgia Foltz, Laura Johnson and Jessica Kettelkamp. The game will start at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live nationally on Fox College Sports, regionally on Fox Sports Arizona and locally on NAU-TV.