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Two Second-Half Goals Lifts UC Davis Over NAU Women's Soccer

Sophomore Forward Ari Gonzalez
Sophomore Forward Ari Gonzalez

Las Vegas, Nev. – With both UC Davis and Northern Arizona women's soccer coming off Friday (Aug. 26) losses of the UNLV Invitational, it was evident both teams were hungry for a win. The Lumberjacks were seeking their first win over the Aggies – in the three games played in program history – but fell short to close out the weekend in Vegas. Northern Arizona falls to 1-3 on the season after today's (Aug. 28) 2-0 loss while UC Davis improves to 2-2 overall and owns the all-time series record of 3-0 versus NAU.

"I thought today was the most complete 90-minute game that we've had all season," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "It's unfortunate that we couldn't get more shots on frame as that is what we're trying to fix. We outshot them 19-9 so I'm really proud of our effort and the adjustments we made from Friday to Sunday." 

With four early looks at goal to start the first half, it seemed it was only a matter of time before NAU went up on the Aggies. Senior forward Ali Lixandru had back-to-back looks seven minutes in as UC Davis' keeper was well out of her box, but made a great play on the ball blocking both of Lixandru's attempts. Sophomore midfielder Victoria Cooper attempted a header not long afterwards – off Lixandru's corner kick – but still no luck for the Lumberjacks.

Northern Arizona continued to control the tempo and was not phased by anything UC Davis threw their way in the first half. Freshman defender Sebrina Rodriguez, in her first career start for NAU, positioned senior forward Lindsay Doyle for a strong-looking header in the 31st minute but Doyle missed high. The 'Jacks outshot the Aggies 9-1 in the first 45 minutes but were still searching for goal number one of the afternoon heading into the break.

Redshirt junior defender Missy Kettelkamp, freshman defender Amanda Bennett, Cooper and Rodriguez were all the difference for NAU's backline and holding the Aggies to just one shot attempt in the first half. Their efforts continued to reap rewards for the offense in the second half. Although UC Davis knocked in just its second attempt of the afternoon and first of the second period off a corner kick, NAU never shied away from the challenge in front of them.

Redshirt freshman Lauren Cooper saw time in goal yet again for NAU in the second half, recording two saves in 45 minutes played. The momentum unfortunately shifted in UC Davis' favor after halftime as they closed the shot attempt margin with seven looks at goal in the first 15 minutes of period two to Northern Arizona's three. In the 74th minute, NAU was called for a foul in the box and UC Davis converted an unfortunate penalty kick to stretch its lead to 2-0. 

Doyle, Coco and Kettelkamp all notched attempts for the 'Jacks late in the second half but fate fell short this time – despite out-shooting the Aggies 19-9 as a team – as the clock winded down. Northern Arizona will travel south and down the mountain to play in-state foe Grand Canyon University on Friday, Sept. 2 in their new home field. The Lumberjacks will have their eyes on a victory after losing to the Lopes in overtime last season for the first time in school history. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. MST in Phoenix, Ariz.