FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team notched its first victory of the 2016 campaign over New Mexico State this afternoon, Aug. 22, by a final score of 1-0. Junior forward Adrian Nixt, off an assist from senior forward Lindsay Doyle, gave NAU its lone goal of the afternoon to lift the 'Jacks to 1-1 on the year. The all-time series record between the two squads moves to 2-0-1 in favor of Northern Arizona.
"Any time you can get a win at the beginning of the year, it's critical," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "It wasn't a pretty game by any means and New Mexico State is a really hard-working team that did a good job of being disruptive. We'll take the 1-0 result. We cleaned up some things in the back and minimized our mistakes after Friday's loss."
The first half jumped out to a quick start as Doyle broke free nearly 10 minutes in, but was stopped short by NMSU's goalkeeper to keep the score even at 0-0. The Aggies seemed to counter any scoring opportunities NAU created with clean looks of their own, but the Lumberjacks rattled the game-winning goal home with 28 minutes left to spare in the first half. In the open field, thanks to Doyle's pass right on target, Nixt found the back of the net from roughly 20 yards out.
"It was good to get our first win under our belt," Nixt said. "We played a lot of young players because we are a young team, which helps us a lot in terms of having fresh legs. Everyone has put in a lot of work up to this point, so this one definitely feels good."
Junior goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann was also pivotal in Northern Arizona's first win of the season. She tallied her first save – seventh on the year – with just over 20 minutes remaining in the first period and never turned back. The biggest of her four saves on the afternoon came in the 82nd minute that would have been the game-tying goal to make it 1-1. Although Nixt's goal was enough to walk away with a win, the Lumberjacks are on the cusp of becoming a dangerous offensive team.
Redshirt sophomore forward Chantal Deroos and freshmen Malia Lyken and Heather Donais all had strong looks at goal for NAU. Halfway into the first half, Deroos beamed one down the middle – off a beautiful setup from freshman Shelbie O'Connor and junior Anna Goebel – but missed high.
It wasn't until the final 10 minutes of the afternoon NAU had another clean scoring opportunity. Off a pass from Donais, Lyken attempted her lone shot of the day but New Mexico State's goalkeeper came away with one of her five total saves. Donais continued to make her presence known in some way or another, recording NAU's final shot attempt of the afternoon immediately following sophomore forward Mei-Te Coco's attempt that missed high. The Lumberjacks outshot NMSU 12-7.
"The biggest adjustment for our freshmen is speed of play and a fitness base that allows them to play two games in a weekend," Luciano said. "They are creative and have a really good technical skill set. I see them having a really good future here."
Luciano and the 'Jacks will road trip to Las Vegas, Nev. this weekend for the UNLV Rebel Classic. They will play their first game on Friday, Aug. 26 versus UNLV before playing a neutral match versus UC Davis on Sunday, Aug. 28. Match time is set for 7 p.m. on Friday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning.