Soccer shutout streak now at six
The NAU soccer team’s weekend started in Pocatello, Idaho, where they encountered lightning in their shortened draw against Idaho State (ISU) on Oct. 7 and ended in Ogden, Utah, where they set the school record of six consecutive shutouts in their win over Weber State (WSU) on Oct. 9. In all, the Lumberjacks came out of the weekend with four points to start the conference season courtesy of a 0-0 tie to ISU (5-7-2) and a 2-0 win over WSU (1-12-1).
“It was a very good weekend for us,” said senior defender Kristi Andreassen. “In conference, it’s very good to get points on the road, because it puts us a little bit ahead of everyone else.”
The previous school record for shutouts was five, set in 2007, that encompassed 513 minutes and 53 seconds; but with their shutout of the Wildcats, the Lumberjacks set the new school mark and has not allowed a goal in 529 minutes and 35 seconds, dating back to the 82:56 mark against USC on Sept. 12.
Head coach Andre Luciano said he has been very impressed with his backline that consists of Andreassen, senior defender Tori Howe, junior defender Georgia Foltz and junior goalkeeper Tori Rocke — who have played alongside each other for three years — and freshman defender Alana D’Onofrio — who has started in place of injured senior defender Rebekah Schmidt. Luciano also said he realizes the school record could not have been achieved without the entire team.
“I think [the backline doesn’t] get rattled very easily anymore,” Luciano said. “But it’s a full credit to our whole team, not just the backs. The six shutouts are a team effort with defending set pieces and corner kicks.”
The Lumberjacks received two first-half goals against WSU to aid the defense in their first conference victory. The first goal came off an Andreassen free kick in the 21st minute, and junior midfielder Ashley Marrapode connected with junior forward Chelsea Bednarz six minutes later for the second score. It was Andreassen’s team-leading sixth goal of the season, and Bednarz’s second.
Although the Wildcats held a 10-3 shot advantage in the second half, the Lumberjacks held on to salvage the weekend.
“We did a very good job of sticking to the game plan,” Luciano said. “Our minimum goal was to come out of the weekend with four points on the road, and I thought we did the job we were supposed to.”
Two days earlier against ISU, play was interrupted for 30 minutes due to lightning and, because of a late start, darkness ultimately forced the game to be called in the 73rd minute. Senior forward Sam Monahan led NAU to an 8-7 shot advantage with three shots, but it was a defensive struggle throughout the shortened game.
“It is what it is, but by no means would I say that we’re satisfied with [the tie],” Luciano said. “We played well, but I was disappointed that we couldn’t get the full 90 minutes in, because I feel like we could’ve came away with [a win].”
Bednarz said she agreed with Luciano that, although the game ended in a tie, the Lumberjacks could have left Idaho with a win.
“We were disappointed,” Bednarz said. “When the game got called, we were starting to click and play really well. We were attacking them, and we were so close to scoring. I definitely thought we could’ve won.”
NAU is now 5-0-1 during their six-shutout streak and will look to continue their streak with a pair of matches against Sacramento State and Portland State on Oct. 15 and Oct. 17 at Lumberjack Stadium.