FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – In the final game of the 2015 Northern Arizona University Mountain Classic, NAU women's soccer finished on top against Robert Morris University in Lumberjack Stadium with a final score of 6-1. They have now won five of their last six games and move to 5-4-0 on the year. This afternoon also marked the end of the non-conference season for the Lumberjacks.
"We have a very strong nucleus of returning players," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "It was only a matter of time before everything started to click. This game could have gone either way and we could have come out flat, but our team had an overwhelming performance today."
The Lumberjacks' two first-half goals came from senior forward Haley Wingender and redshirt freshman forward Chantal Deroos. This was Deroos' first goal since NAU's loss at Grand Canyon University and second of her career after utilizing her redshirt last season. Wingender recorded her seventh goal of the 2015 campaign and is now tied for third in program history with Cee Cee Odorfer (2004-2008) in individual career goals at 26.
"Chantal Deroos has played phenomenally for us the last three to four games," Luciano said. "She didn't play a minute last year, but has definitely stepped up this season."
Junior forward Lindsay Doyle helped spark the Lumberjack offense early in the first half recording their first two shot attempts. In the 19th minute, on the verge of scoring, Doyle was tripped up in the goalie box and NAU was rewarded a penalty kick. Wingender cashed it in to give the Lumberjacks a 1-0 lead with 25 minutes remaining. It was close to 20 minutes after Wingender's goal that Deroos would find the back of the net off an assist from sophomore midfielder Brooke Evans. Evans now has one goal and one assist on the year.
After only scoring two goals in their first three contests of the season, the Lumberjacks have progressed tremendously on the offensive end netting 10 goals in two games this weekend. Sophomore forward Anna Goebel gave Northern Arizona some quality minutes this afternoon as she had two exceptional looks, one of which bounced off the post, to end the first half. This momentum carried into the second period as an additional four goals were scored by freshman midfielder Madeline Waszak, junior forward Ali Lixandru, junior defender Alexia Gonzalez and sophomore midfielder Gabi Gibeault.
"We've always known we had the potential to be very good," Deroos said. "There were a couple small things that needed to be fixed in the beginning of the year and now they're fixed. It's great that we're on a hot streak right now moving into the conference season."
Less than a minute into the second period, Waszak found the back of the net off a Lixandru pass from the right side of the field. Lixandru wasn't finished as she scored the following goal, this time off a pass from Deroos. Gonzalez was granted NAU's second penalty kick of the match and nailed it to give the Lumberjacks a 5-1 lead with less than 15 minutes to go. Robert Morris did not score their lone goal of the afternoon until the 78th minute, but Gibeault stretched the lead yet again off an assist from freshman forward Haleigh Van Allen.
Sophomore goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann also had a remarkable weekend recording her first two career wins over North Dakota State on Friday and today over Robert Morris. She now has 15 saves, seven of which she recorded this weekend, in 250 minutes of playing time. In the 27th minute, Dickmann had a crucial save which would have cut the Colonials' lead to one heading into halftime. It was a high and centered kick, but she was able to knock the ball off track with a climb-the-ladder one- handed block.
A total of 32 players on Northern Arizona's squad saw action in today's win over the Colonials.
The Lumberjacks head into the conference season with a winning record and look to continue their momentum into conference play. First up is Sacramento State at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 and Portland State on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. on the road.