COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team fell to Air Force this evening, Sept. 16, by a final score of 3-1. Redshirt freshman Carly Gamble recorded her first career goal to put NAU on the board, but it was not enough to combat a hot second half from the Falcons. Head Coach Andre Luciano and the Lumberjacks fall to 2-5-1 on the season while USAFA moves to 3-2-1.
"We had two great breakaways in the first half that we didn't put away," Luciano said. "We had plenty of chances but we didn't capitalize – and then took a five-minute mental lapse in the second half. I still believe in this team and believe we can have a really good season moving forward."
The first half was all square at 0-0 with both squads notching five shot attempts a piece. Freshman forward Shelbie O'Connor was given the first look just 23 seconds into the game but missed wide. Northern Arizona continued to charge offensively jumping out to a 4-1 shot advantage, but as the first half winded down, the Falcons started to find their groove.
Junior goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann – coming off six saves versus the University of New Mexico – went into the locker room at halftime just two shy of her season best. Unfortunately for Northern Arizona, halftime was the best thing to happen to Air Force. Nixt rattled off the Lumberjacks' first shot of the second half that resulted in a USAFA save. But in roughly a five-minute stretch to open up the second period, the Falcons scored three straight goals to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
"They came out pretty fired up and took it to us in the second half," Luciano added. "They capitalized on their chances; that deflated us and gave them a lift. We picked up the intensity afterwards like we have done all season, but they had us on our heels."
As Luciano noted, NAU proved the game was far from over despite trailing by three with 30 minutes to go in the game. In the 66th minute, Gamble scored from 15 yards out to add a digit to the scoreboard and pull NAU within two of the Falcons. Nixt was credited with the assist.
The Lumberjacks weathered the storm to close out the second half and the game as Air Force did not score from the 61st minute on and only edged NAU in shot attempts 15-14. Although Gamble's lone goal of the night was not enough to walk away with a win, NAU is on the upward slope of growing pains heading into the conference season. They will round out the non-conference slate against Colorado College this Sunday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. MST.