FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team will head to Prescott this Friday (Aug. 14) to take on Arizona State in an exhibition match at Prescott Valley Amphitheater. The Sun Devils were the last team the Lumberjacks faced in 2014- and will be the first of the 2015 campaign.
Coming off nearly two weeks of practice and the team's annual Blue and Gold scrimmage, head coach Andre Luciano is looking forward to another opportunity to go head-to-head with ASU.
This preseason, Luciano has stressed the importance of growth and staying in the moment. The story will be no different come Friday.
"We have to focus on ourselves rather than who our opponents are," Luciano said. "We just have to get better every day. We talk a lot about 1 percent. If each player can focus on being 1 percent better every day, then as a team we will get better."
In the first round of the NCAA tournament last November, ASU came out on top 4-2 after two early goals. The last time the Lumberjacks beat the Sun Devils was in 2001 with a final score of 1-0. NAU's all-time series record against ASU is 1-10-0.
Arizona State returns three all-conference players to Northern Arizona's five. The Sun Devils bring back senior defender McKenzie Berryhill (All-Pac-12 First team), senior forward Cali Farquharson (All-Pac-12 First Team) and sophomore forward Aly Moon (Pac-12 All-Freshman Team and Pac-12 Honorable Mention). Farquharson led the team in goals last season with 14.
Luciano leads a deep roster starting with veteran leadership in seniors Haley Wingender, Ashlynn Curnow, Cierra Gamble, Lauren Doud and Emily Wadell. Wingender led the team in goals, assists, shots and points at forward last season. Gamble, Wadell and sophomore forward Adrian Nixt combined for 11 goals last season. Nixt also finished second on the team in points with 13.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Natalie Gilbertson will also play a key role in the Lumberjack lineup. She recorded 104 saves last season with nine total shutouts. Joining Gilbertson on the defensive end are impact players Curnow and junior Torey Braly. Curnow played in 20 of 22 games with 18 starts while Braly appeared in 19 games with nine starts.
The Lumberjacks open up at home on Aug. 28 against another in-state foe the University of Arizona. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at Lumberjack Stadium.