FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team was long overdue for an overtime victory. In their sixth overtime match of the season against the Weber State Wildcats this afternoon (Oct. 25), the Lumberjacks finished on top with a final score of 2-1. This snapped Weber State's four game winning streak and moved NAU into the sixth place mark in the current Big Sky standings. It was only fitting that, on a day celebrating 11 graduating seniors, seniors Nicole Sherwin, Torey Braly and Emily Wadell would help lift the 'Jacks past a hot WSU team.
"Weber State is a very good team," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "Our players took what we gave them tactically and we were able to frustrate them. We put up a huge fight today. They worked their tails off and deserve this win."
The Lumberjacks went into halftime trailing 1-0 after a late Weber State goal to end the first period. The two squads traded shot attempts for much of the first half as Weber State had five to NAU's four. After four minutes in, the Wildcats broke free for what could have been a prime opportunity to score, but junior defender Danny Muniz came up with the stop to regain possession. Senior midfielder Cierra Gamble had a clean look at goal off a pass from senior forward Haley Wingender in the 17th minute to counter the Wildcat offense, but missed left. The 'Jacks created a number of scoring opportunities with other shot attempts coming from senior defender Ashlynn Curnow and Wingender, but the next two periods proved to be their time to shine.
In the 42nd minute, the Wildcats cashed in their lone goal of the afternoon on a penalty kick. NAU came out of the half able to maintain its high defensive pressure while establishing a dangerous offensive mentality. Amber Measley was a huge spark off the bench as she notched the game-tying assist in the 83rd minute of regulation. After her shot was deflected off a WSU player, Wadell was in the right place at the right time. From roughly 15-yards out, the senior's shot soared over the Wildcats goalkeeper to put NAU on the board.
"To be able to come back and give the team life was pretty exciting," Wadell said." With the emotions of senior day, we all really rallied around each other and everyone was playing hard for each other. We're still playing for a spot in the Big Sky tournament, so this momentum is huge for us."
Northern Arizona had several close opportunities to steal the lead in regulation after multiple shots from Wingender, Braly and sophomore Missy Kettelkamp 15 minutes into period two. In what turned out to a brief overtime period, Sherwin and Braly made no doubt the Lumberjacks would leave their home turf victorious. In the 95th minute, Sherwin hit Braly right on the money to give her a prime one-on-one opportunity against WSU's goalkeeper. After a strikingly similar scenario in regulation where she missed high, Braly redeemed herself. This was her second career goal and the first game-winner of her career.
Northern Arizona is now 4-4-1 in the Big Sky and 9-8-1 this season.
Last but certainly not least, Luciano and his squad will take on the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Friday, Oct. 30 in Cedar City, Utah. This will close out the Lumberjacks' 2015 regular season campaign and be the final decision in capturing a berth to the Big Sky Championships.