FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona University women's soccer did not take the lead over Oakland University until less than five minutes in the game with back-to-back goals from senior forward Haley Wingender and sophomore forward Adrian Nixt. They held off the Golden Grizzlies as the clock dwindled down to zero to seal the win with a final score of 2-1 in Lumberjack Stadium. Northern Arizona moves to 2-3-0 on the season.
The game was slow to start with a combined five shot attempts in the first half, three coming from NAU. Wingender missed left within the first 10 minutes of the game and would not get another shot at goal until the second half. The other two attempts came from junior midfielder Nicole Sherwin and freshman midfielder Victoria Cooper.
"Our mentality was to stay patient and keep taking chances," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "We didn't need a great goal, just a gritty goal to get us on the board."
In the second half, the Lumberjacks rattled off nine total shots to Oakland's four. Redshirt junior Natalie Gilbertson recorded her first save of the game in the 61st minute and would finish the afternoon with two total saves. The Lumberjacks' offense caught fire in the second half with clean looks from Wingender in the 51st minute and two consecutive shots from Nixt. Northern Arizona seemed to have all the pieces; it was just a matter of finishing.
At last, Wingender scored her third goal of the weekend with just four minutes left to play to tie up the game 1-1. Shortly after, on a scramble to the ball and a double assist from senior defender Emily Wadell and junior forward Lindsay Doyle, Nixt cashed in the game-winning goal and her first of the season.
"Lindsay kicked the ball behind her and the goalkeeper came out," Nixt explained. "The player from Oakland who was standing on the goal line bobbled it and I was able to tap it in."
Luciano and his squad are ready to continue their momentum into the rest of the year.
"We have to continue believing in what we are trying to do as a program," Luciano said. "We talk about rolling up our sleeves, putting our hard hats on and going to work every day. These types of games are who we are and we are starting to understand that. Now it's time to embrace that identity and run with it."
Today's match capped off an undefeated weekend for NAU Athletics with three wins from volleyball, a win from football and first place finishes from men's and women's cross country.
As Luciano put it, at Northern Arizona, we are "all for one and one for all."
Lumberjack soccer will hit the road for Milwaukee, Wis. next weekend where they will play Marquette University and the University of Loyola Chicago in the Marquette Invitational as they look to continue their two-game win streak.