FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – History repeated itself this afternoon (Oct. 11) in Lumberjack Stadium as the Northern Arizona University women's soccer team defeated the University of North Dakota with a final score of 2-0. Today marked the fourth time the two squads have met and NAU now dominates the series 4-0-0. The Lumberjacks have not given up a goal to UND in four games dating back to 2012. Senior forward Haley Wingender's eighth goal this season, and an own goal by North Dakota, put the 'Jacks on top as they now move to 7-6-1 on the year and 2-2-1 in the Big Sky.
"Today we were very calm and I feel like this is the first time we've controlled the game from beginning to end," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "One of the important things for us to build off of is being consistent."
Northern Arizona came into this afternoon's contest looking to stay composed, maintain possession of the ball and put two halves together. They certainly executed the game plan as they held UND to one shot in the first half and only four shot attempts in 90 minutes. This is the third time NAU has held an opponent to a single shot in one half. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Natalie Gilbertson appeared in her ninth game this season but only had two opportunities to make saves. To start the first half, she made two heady plays to prevent the UND offense from even getting a look.
The Lumberjacks' shot attempts came from a variety of players in Wingender and sophomore forward Adrian Nixt with three and freshman forward Chantal Deroos, junior forward Lindsay Doyle, senior midfielder Cierra Gamble and freshman forwards Emma Bushell and Ari Gonzalez all with two apiece. Senior defender Emily Wadell, sophomore forward Anna Goebel, and freshman forward Mei-Te Coco each ended up with one shot to add to NAU's 19 attempts on the game. Wingender's goal was her 27th career goal and she officially passes Cee Cee Odorfer for third place in NAU women's soccer history.
Wingender got her first shot off in the 11th minute of the game but it resulted in a save from UND's Olivia Swenson. Doyle, off a bomb from Gilbertson downfield, was just shy of connecting on the Lumberjacks' first goal of the afternoon but the ball took a tough bounce and she missed high shortly after Wingender's attempt. Northern Arizona possessed the ball for a good portion of the first half with other strong looks coming from Doyle again and Bushell in the last minute of period one. Redshirt junior Alexia Gonzalez earned her first start this season and recorded a season-high 45 minutes of playing time. Freshman defender Sophia Natsues also recorded a season-high 82 minutes in her first career start.
Deroos got things going for NAU in the second half alongside Ari Gonzalez and Coco. Sophomore Meg O'Brien also saw time in today's contest and played a key part in UND's own goal that put NAU up 2-0 with just over 10 minutes to play in regulation.
"Sometimes you create your own luck," Luciano said. "I thought Meg O'Brien put a great amount of pressure on their keeper and the ball bounced back into the goal. We'll take those."
The conference season is winding down as the Lumberjacks are back on the road next week. They are set to face Eastern Washington University on Friday, Oct. 16 and the current league leader Idaho on Sunday, Oct. 18.