SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In a heated contest against Sacramento State on Hornet Field, Northern Arizona University women's soccer dropped their first Big Sky match of the year in overtime with a final score of 1-0. The Hornets move to 3-6-0 this season and 1-0 in conference play, while NAU falls to 5-5-0 and 0-1 in conference.
"It was a disappointing way to start the conference season," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "Sacramento State took their one great opportunity and finished it."
It was a battle of the defenses to kick off the first half in Sacramento. Sacramento State attempted just three shots in the first half to Northern Arizona's seven. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Natalie Gilbertson did not have a single opportunity for a save, while the Hornets' goalkeeper had three saves off of looks from senior forward Haley Wingender, junior forward Lindsay Doyle and junior defender Danny Muniz. Freshman forward Mei –Te Coco and redshirt freshman Chantal Deroos also recorded two of the remaining seven shot attempts, but missed wide.
It was only a matter of time before Gilbertson was tested in goal, and it finally came in the 48th minute to open up the second half, resulting in her first save of the evening. The Hornets began to close the shot attempts gap, but NAU proved relentless on the offensive end of the ball with the team's eighth and ninth shots coming from sophomore forward Adrian Nixt in the 52nd and 58th minute.
"Once we settled into our game, we had a lot of advantages," Luciano said. "But unfortunately, their keeper made two brilliant saves on the shots by Haley and Adrian."
A good stretch of the second half brought about back-and-forth action between NAU and Sac State with Sacramento State's Kylee Smith, Chelsea Arnold and Andrea Boehm getting the next three looks for the Hornets. Gilbertson snagged her second save off Boehm's attempt in the 75th minute. With just over 10 minutes to go in regulation, the Hornets evened up the shot attempt margin at nine, but still only had two on goal to NAU's four.
After a score of 0-0 in regulation, the two squads juked it out for what would be Sacramento State's first conference win of the year. Yet again, NAU and Sac State traded off shots to start the overtime period. It wasn't until the 97th minute that Kayla Collins would find the back of the net for the Hornets as the ball went through the Lumberjacks back line and under Gilbertson.
Wingender and Nixt both ended the night with a team-high three shot attempts. Gilbertson recorded three saves, moving her career total to 172.
It will be a quick turnaround for the Lumberjacks as they are back in action this Sunday, Sept. 27 at Portland State University. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. MST to close out their first conference road swing of the year.