Big Sky Conference Quarterfinals on Tap for NAU Soccer

Big Sky Conference Quarterfinals on Tap for NAU Soccer

2016 BIG SKY TOURNAMENT BRACKET

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – After a No. 3 seed-clinching win on Friday (Oct. 28) over Southern Utah, the Northern Arizona University women's soccer team is locked in for the first round of the Big Sky Conference Championships. Head Coach Andre Luciano and the Lumberjacks will face the No. 6 seed University of Northern Colorado on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. MST in the quarterfinals.

2016 Notables

-Northern Arizona snapped Eastern Washington's 10-game, two month unbeaten streak on homecoming weekend (Oct. 16). This was also EWU's first Big Sky loss of the season.

-Meghan Dickmann made her way into the NAU record books as she now has 126 career saves (eighth) with 85 of them coming in 2016.

-As of Oct. 30, junior forward Adrian Nixt is tied for 15th in the country and tied for first in the Big Sky in game-winning goals (5) this season.

-Nixt now has eight career game-winning goals, which is fourth in program history. She also cracked NAU's Top 10 in career points (ninth) with 43 and NAU's Top 10 (seventh) in career goals with 17.

-In NAU all-time single season records, Nixt is tied for third in game-winning goals.

-Senior forward Lindsay Doyle tied her season best four goals against Southern Utah (Oct.28), which moves her career total to 12.

-Freshman forward Heather Donais leads the team in assists with five. She is one assist away from tying the ninth-best single season assists record in NAU history.

-11 different Lumberjacks have scored for NAU this season: Mei-Te Coco (sophomore), Malia Lyken (freshman), Anna Goebel (junior), Amanda Bennett (freshman), Riley Porter (junior), Shelbie O'Connor (freshman), Carly Gamble (redshirt freshman), Ali Lixandru (senior), Madeline Waszak (sophomore), Doyle (senior) and Nixt (junior).

-Dating back to 1997, NAU is 17-21-45 in overtime games. The highest number of overtime games in a single season came in 2011 with nine. This year, the Lumberjacks have had six overtime games, posting a 2-0-4 record compared to last season's 1-2-4 overtime record.

-Northern Arizona has never won more than two overtime games in a season. The last time the 'Jacks won two overtime games was in 2014.

-Just two out of 12 true freshmen have appeared in all 19 games this season for the 'Jacks: Amanda Bennett and Shelbie O'Connor.

The Scout

Northern Colorado (No. 6)

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 2

Time: 10 a.m. MST

Coverage: watchbigsky.com

The 'Jacks have just two conference losses this season and Northern Colorado is one of them. On Oct. 9, Northern Arizona fell in Greeley by a final score of 3-0. The Bears finished the regular season 10-7-2 overall and 5-4-1 in the Big Sky after most recently beating the University of North Dakota. Northern Colorado's four conference losses were to Idaho, Idaho State, Portland State and Sacramento State. The Bears are led by Mariel Gutierrez has scored 10 goals this season and assisted on two for 22 points in her sophomore campaign.

Sacramento State (No. 2)

Date: Friday, Nov. 4

Time: 10 a.m. MST

Coverage: watchbigsky.com

With a win over Northern Colorado, the Lumberjacks will take on Sacramento State in the semifinals. At the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, this will be the Hornets' first game of the tournament. Sac State enters the week at 8-6-4 overall including a 6-2-2 mark in the Big Sky. They are one of the hottest teams as of now with five straight wins over Idaho State, North Dakota, Northern Colorado, Weber State and Portland State. Jennifer Lum and Kayla Collins are two players to keep an eye on for the Hornets. Lum has five goals and two assists this season while Collins has three goals and two assists.

Veteran Affairs

It's no secret that the 'Jacks graduated a bulk of their starters including four All-Big Sky selections from 2015. But with change, comes new opportunity. With seniors like Dani Muniz and Lindsay Doyle, as well as redshirt junior Missy Kettelkamp, there still is no shortage of experience for NAU.

Muniz appeared in all 19 games last season at defender while Doyle appeared in 18. At forward, Doyle strung together a solid junior season scoring four goals – tied for second on the team with Adrian Nixt – and two assists for 10 points. Kettelkamp, too, brings a strong mix of experience to the table after proving in 2015 she can defend and put the ball in the back of the net.

Youth Movement

Given that 26 players of NAU's 36-player roster are underclassmen, the growth ahead is inevitable. With 15 freshmen aboard the Lumberjack train – 12 newcomers and three redshirts – Luciano and his squad are bound and determined to use what's in front of them as an advantage. Without any one, star player to rely on, Luciano summed up his expectations for this year's team in one word: united.