Pocatello, Idaho – In their final regular season road game, the Northern Arizona women's soccer team closed out the weekend in Pocatello, Idaho to face Idaho State. The Lumberjacks spoiled Senior Day for the Bengals as NAU defeated Idaho State 2-1 for the first win in Pocatello since 2005. Northern Arizona is now 8-5-4 this season and now moves to 4-2-3 in the Big Sky.
"Today was a really good team win," said head coach Andre Luciano. "We knew that Idaho State was going to come out fired up for Senior Day and we have always said that Davis Field is a very difficult place to play and win. We put a lot of pressure on them in terms of being direct in order to neutralize Amanda Ellsworth."
The Lumberjacks were able to jump on the scoreboard first in the first half as NAU forced an own goal to take the early 1-0 lead in the 30th minute of the first half. Torey Braly was able to cross the ball into the box where Haley Wingender crashed the box forcing a deflection in by an Idaho State defender. The Lumberjacks then added to their lead as Braly was able to connect with Wingender in the 56th to score her 10th goal of the season. Braly was able to take the ball deep into the attacking-third and placed a great through-ball at the feet of Wingender to place the ball in the back of the net.
Idaho State tried to make a comeback late in the game scoring a goal in the 80th minute by Allyssa Kenney to make the score 2-1 but it was not enough as the Lumberjacks were able to win at Idaho State for the first time in nine years. NAU had the task of having to cover Ellsworth who leads the Big Sky with 13 goals and 28 points and the Lumberjacks' defense responded to the task by shutting down Ellsworth.
"We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy but we knew that we had a lot to play for today," said senior Sarah Tarver. "The entire game plan was to stop Ellsworth and as a defensive line we all communicated very well and we played as a team. We scored as a team and this is a team win."
The Bengals came in averaging 1.81 goals per contest but Tarver and the rest of the Lumberjacks' defense were able to hold Idaho State's offense in check for NAU's first win since Oct. 12.
"To win here in Idaho feels amazing," said Tarver winning her first game ever at Idaho State. "We went all out today and we sacrificed for each other so I am so proud of our team."
This is a crucial win for NAU as it sat in sixth place before the start of play today, directly behind Idaho State.
"This is a team win from player-one to player-20 on the roster," said Luciano. "Everyone played hard for each other and great things happen when you believe in something."
NAU will be back in action on Oct. 31 for the final game of the season against Southern Utah. It will be Senior Day for Savannah Berry, Diane Buzzard, Mary Harrah, Malia Tano and Tarver with kickoff at 7 p.m. at Lumberjack Stadium.