GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team notched its second Big Sky win of the season over the University of North Dakota to move to 5-6-2 overall and 2-1-1 in conference play. Senior forward Lindsay Doyle and junior forward Adrian Nixt both scored for the Lumberjacks this afternoon, Oct. 7, to walk away with a 2-1 victory in Grand Forks. The Fighting Hawks drop to 1-9-2 on the year and 0-4 in the Big Sky.
"We made some lineup changes and inserted some different players in different positions," Luciano said. "It paid off for us. We played as a complete of a soccer game as we could have, despite the cold and windy conditions. Lindsay [Doyle] scored a great goal, Adrian [Nixt] does what she does and Ali [Lixandru] also really stepped up for us today."
Doyle scored the first goal of her senior campaign versus Sacramento State on Sept. 25, and since then, has had no trouble scoring the ball for Northern Arizona. The Laguna Niguel, Calif. native put the Lumberjacks up 1-0 over North Dakota in the 31st minute – making it her third consecutive game with a goal. Doyle is just one score away from matching her season-best four goals that came in both her freshman and junior seasons. She now has three goals and seven points on the season behind Nixt's team-high five goals (all game-winners) and 11 points.
In the first half, Northern Arizona rattled off nine shots of their 13 total attempts while holding North Dakota to a mere seven shots in 90 minutes. Junior goalkeeper Meghan Dickmann walked away with four saves on the afternoon to boost her season total to 53 and career total to 94. The offensive firepower between Doyle and Nixt, mixed with Dickmann in goal, was just what the doctor ordered to give NAU its second road win of the 2016 campaign – but an important one no less.
Doyle gave the 'Jacks their first two looks of the game in the 10th and 14th minutes before ultimately giving NAU the 1-0 lead off an assist from freshman forward Heather Donais – the second of Donais' career. Nixt also had three strong first-half looks, but would not score until the 63rd minute of the second half to give the Lumberjacks a 2-1 lead and eventually the victory.
Her game-winner came off a double-assist from freshman forward Shelbie O'Connor and senior forward Ali Lixandru no more than seven minutes after UND notched the equalizer. Nixt now has eight career game-winning goals – good for fourth in program history. In 2016 alone, her five game-winners ties Cee Cee Odorfer's 2008 total, which is third in NAU all-time individual season records.
Although Northern Arizona had just four shots in the second half, they were efficient in finding a way to win. Lixandru had both of her looks in period two – both on goal – surely testing UND's starting goalkeeper. The Fighting Hawks had just one less look than NAU in the last 45 minutes, but Dickmann did everything in her power to keep the team on top after coming down with her final save in the 78th minute.
Luciano and his squad have a quick turnaround before facing the Bears of Northern Colorado on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 11 a.m. MST.
"We know Northern Colorado will be very good team at home," Luciano said. "We have to make some adjustments to our game plan, but for now, we will enjoy this win and go from there."