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NAU Soccer Battles Sac State in Double Overtime Tie

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

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team gutted out a double overtime tie this afternoon, Sept. 25, against Sacramento State to move to 4-5-2 on the season and 1-0-1 in Big Sky play. The Hornets were also coming off a conference-opening win against Southern Utah and jump out to 3-4-3 in the 2016 campaign while matching NAU's 1-0-1 clip in conference action. Senior forward Lindsay Doyle tallied the Lumberjacks' lone goal of the afternoon, her first of the season and ninth career goal.

"I thought we played well and created our chances to go ahead," Head Coach Andre Luciano said. "We got a little unlucky on the goal scored against us. I told the team afterwards that we are learning how not to lose, which is a critical component at this part in the season."

The all-time series record between the two squads is now 11-8-3 overall and 8-1-2 from Northern Arizona's home field. Today (Sept. 25) was the Lumberjacks' fourth overtime game of the season alone, but the Lumberjacks refuse to lose as they are now 2-0-2 in overtime matches. The Hornets and 'Jacks were neck-and-neck entering this afternoon's (Sept. 25) match, at fifth and fourth in the Big Sky standings respectively, and the game itself certainly made that known.

"We have an opportunity to learn from every game," Luciano said. "We hope that these games teach us how to keep fighting and push through adversity. I thought we did a good job implementing what we wanted to do and played especially well in the first half. Sacramento State is a veteran team, and with so many freshmen on the field for us, a tie is a positive result."

Northern Arizona had a one-shot advantage in shot attempts at the half and was able to walk away with a 1-0 lead after the first 45 minutes of action. Doyle's shot in the sixth minute – off an assist from freshman forward Shelbie O'Connor – was all cotton.  O'Connor blasted the ball from deep in the right corner to set up Doyle and help give NAU every ounce of momentum for the remainder of period one. Sophomore forward Ari Gonzalez and junior forward Anna Goebel also rattled off two other looks late in the first half, but both resulted in saves for Sac State.

Junior goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann also contributed to NAU's lead at halftime, coming up with three of her seven saves of the afternoon. This matches Dickmann's season best and moves her to 45 total saves on the season. Her career total now sits at 86, ninth all-time in NAU program history.

In the second half, the physicality remained as the Hornets and Lumberjacks continued to create scoring opportunities. Sacramento State earned its only goal of the match in the 53rd minute off an own goal. Unfortunately for NAU, the Hornets' free kick from roughly 40 yards out hit the foot of a Lumberjack defender just right to tie the game up 1-1 and keep it that way. Both teams had five shots apiece in the second half before eventually fatigue started to set in. There were a total of three shots combined, two from NAU and one from Sac State, in the two 10-minute overtime periods.

Luciano and the Lumberjacks will now have three straight road games starting with Weber State on Friday, Sept. 30 at 2:30 p.m. MST. This will be Northern Arizona's lone game of the weekend before hitting the road again for two other Big Sky games at North Dakota and Northern Colorado on Oct. 7 and Oct. 9, respectively.