FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team showed its resiliency yet again tonight, Oct. 14, versus the University of Montana in the first of two conference games this weekend. After being down 2-0 with less than five minutes to go in regulation, the Lumberjacks notched an incredible comeback scoring in the 86th and 89th minutes to send the game into overtime. By a final score of 2-2, Head Coach Andre Luciano and the Lumberjacks are now 5-7-3 overall and 2-2-2 in the Big Sky, while the Griz moves to 6-5-4 overall and 2-2-2 in the Big Sky.
"This was a character game," Luciano said. "We seem to make things difficult for ourselves, but I think what I was really proud of was how resilient they were. Scoring off corner kicks wasn't something we could do a game before and we really made an effort to finish on those set pieces."
Junior forward Adrian Nixt scored the first goal for NAU to cut Montana's 2-0 lead in half. This was her sixth goal of the season and 15th career goal, moving her into a tie for seventh on the all-time career goals list. Redshirt freshman Carly Gamble scored the equalizer in the 89th minute. Gamble now has two career goals, both of which have come in the 2016 campaign.
Perhaps both Nixt and Gamble were the saviors tonight for the Lumberjacks – but freshman forward Heather Donais was equally as valuable as she assisted on both scores off of corner kicks. Donais now has a team-high four assists in her rookie campaign.
"Anytime you sub in a national caliber sprinter like Heather Donais late in the game, it tires teams out and stretches them defensively," Luciano added. She was able to come in and put a ton of pressure on them."
Luciano and his young team knew scoring would not come easy as the Griz had only given up 12 goals through 14 games. There were no surprises in terms of what Montana brought to the table defensively and the 'Jacks struggled to capitalize in regulation until Nixt opened the floodgates in the 86th minute. Despite Montana's first goal in the 35th minute and an unfortunate own goal in the 54th minute, Northern Arizona still found the guts to scratch and claw its way back from a 2-0 deficit. After tonight, NAU remains unbeaten in overtime matches this season at 2-0-3.
Other than NAU's two goals on the night, the Lumberjacks had a handful of other great looks at goal. After just notching three first-half shots to Montana's five, Northern Arizona finished with 11 – one more than Montana – with an impressive nine of those 11 shots being on goal. Freshman forward Shelbie O'Connor and senior forwards Ali Lixandru and Lindsay Doyle all chipped in to the shots and shots on goal column in regulation. Both Donais and redshirt junior defender Missy Kettelkamp also had strong attempts in the first and second overtime periods, respectively.
Northern Arizona will close out the homecoming weekend versus Eastern Washington who is now on a 10 game unbeaten streak. The Eagles, currently second in the conference standings, tied with Southern Utah tonight (Oct. 14), who is ninth in the standings. Kick-off versus Eastern Washington is set for 12 p.m. in Lumberjack Stadium this Sunday, Oct. 16.