NAU Soccer's Young Squad Still Finding Their Stride in Loss at GCU

Freshman forward Shelbie O'Connor
Freshman forward Shelbie O'Connor

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team fell to Grand Canyon University this evening, Sept. 2, by a final score of 5-0 in GCU Stadium. Head Coach Andre Luciano's young crew continues to fight through early growing pains as they drop to 1-4-0 on the season while the Lopes also move to 1-4-0 in 2016.

"Grand Canyon was a very good team today and they physically dominated us," Luciano said. "They finished every opportunity that they had in front of goal. We have to start coming out with a different mentality and finish the opportunities that we have. It was really disheartening to not finish when we had the chance to."

Grand Canyon found the back of the net 14 minutes in to take an early 1-0 lead, but NAU's Lindsay Doyle fired back with a clean look of her own almost immediately after to kick things off in the first half. The preseason Western Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year Blakely Fraasch notched her first save of the evening to help keep the Lopes out in front. The 'Jacks found themselves back on their heels from the get-go and GCU continued to take advantage of it. In the 28th and 30th minutes, the Lopes created their own luck to take a 3-0 lead at the half.

Even with a tall task in front them chasing down GCU's 3-0 lead, the Lumberjacks continued to charge on. Hoping to shift the momentum in NAU's favor, junior forward Anna Goebel broke free as the half winded down off a pass from freshman forward Malia Lyken, but was stopped short just outside the goalie box. Doyle along with sophomore forward Haleigh Van Allen ripped off Northern Arizona's two shots of the half.

To open up the second period, the Lopes had three looks at goal to increase their shot margin to 11-2. Northern Arizona continued to search for any dose of energy to hang on to and almost got exactly that with their first shot attempt of the half from sophomore Victoria Cooper off a free kick from freshman Sebrina Rodriguez. Her shot ricocheted off the goalkeeper where Doyle followed up with a second look.

The Lumberjacks will be back on their home turf next weekend, Sept. 9 -11, for the annual Mountain Classic. Luciano and the squad will take on the University of Illinois-Chicago on Friday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. MST and University of New Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. MST. Both games will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona.