FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team will open up their home stand this weekend starting with the University of Arizona on Friday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. in Lumberjack Stadium. They will have a quick turnaround as they are set to face the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 3 p.m.
The Lumberjacks are coming off an overtime loss to Grand Canyon in their first contest of the season. After not appearing in a game last year, redshirt freshman midfielder Chantal Deroos tallied her first career goal for NAU in the first half. Senior forward Haley Wingender also scored for the Lumberjacks making it her twentieth career goal and first of the 2015 campaign.
To honor NAU's home opener on Friday, the first 2,000 fans will receive a free thunderstick. There will also be a March to the Match from the Walkup Skydome to Lumberjack Stadium at 2:40 p.m. before Sunday's 3 p.m. kick-off. For both matches, Flagstaff United District families will receive a promotion code through Peach Jar for a discounted ticket.
"Playing at home for the first time this season is special," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "We're hoping for a record crowd because that goes a long way for our players."
University of Arizona
The Lumberjacks, dating back to 1998, look to capture their first win against the Wildcats in school history. U of A has captured seven wins with the other two games resulting in a tie.
Returning for Arizona is sophomore midfielder Gabi Stoian, junior midfielder Lexe Selmen and senior forward Kaitlyn Lopez. Stoian, who was a 2014 All-Pac-12 Second Team selection, led the team in goals (13), shots (78), assists (7) and points (33) last season. Selmen finished second on the team in shots with 34. Lopez ended her junior season behind Stoian with seven points.
Arizona was picked to finish 8th in the Pac-12 preseason polls and is currently 2-0 in 2015 with wins over Abilene Christian (Aug. 21) and Santa Clara (Aug. 23). Of Arizona's six goals on the season, Stoian has accounted for half of them. The other three came from senior defender Hayley Estopare, sophomore midfielder Cali Crisler and a game-winning goal from sophomore forward Cece Bilginer. This will be the Wildcats' first road game of the 2015 campaign.
"Obviously with Grand Canyon there was a lot of emotional disappointment in that we could have won the game," Luciano reflected. "Coming into the Arizona game, we have to see it as an opportunity to play an NCAA Tournament team."
The last time UNLV played in Lumberjack Stadium was October 2013 where the game ended in a tie after double overtime. The Rebels lead the all-time series 1-5-2. The last time the Lumberjacks defeated UNLV was in 1999.
The Rebels tied for 7th out of 12 teams in the Mountain West and will return one All-Mountain West Second Team selection in senior Denali Murnman. Murnman, along with junior forward Dakota Blazak, led the team in goals last season with four a piece. Murnman was also the 2014 team leader in assists (4), shots (45) and points (12). Following close behind her in points was Blazak with 10.
UNLV is currently 1-1-0 on the year with a 1-0 victory over Texas A&M- Corpus Christi (Aug. 21). Junior forward Susie Bernal, who missed last season due to a knee injury, tallied the game winning goal in her first game back for the Rebels.
"We have to be able to bounce back from an emotional Friday night game against Arizona," Luciano explained. "We have to control our emotions and understand that UNLV will be another good opponent."