LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The NAU women’s soccer team finished its weekend in Las Vegas Sunday in a matchup with UC Riverside. Haley Wingender scored two goals in her return home to Las Vegas but it was not enough as the Lumberjacks fell to UC Riverside 3-2.
"These games are good for us because these are the type of games we will be playing during conference," said head coach Andre Luciano. "UC Riverside is a good team who lost in its conference championship last year so I am pleased with the way we battled today."
After coming off a loss, the Lumberjacks came out with exceptional energy and got out to an early 1-0 lead in the 15th minute of the first half. Wingender, the Vegas native, scored the Lumberjacks first goal of the season off a cross from Sarah Tarver.
The Highlanders responded in the 23rd minute with a goal from Tyler Cunningham to even the score at 1-1. UC Riverside then took the 2-1 lead three minutes later off a goal from Alexa Bustamante.
NAU had four shots early in the first half but the Highlanders fired off 14 shots in the first half applying heavy pressure on the Lumberjacks defense late in the first.
Riverside continued their offensive attack early in the second half with a goal from Amanda Apelian in the 50th minute that put the Highlanders up 3-1.
Looking to make a second half comeback, Wingnder scored her second goal of the game in the 60th minute off a pass from Cierra Gamblein the box for the eight-yard score to cut the lead to 3-2.
"Haley played a great game and started off with a beautiful goal in the first from Sarah Tarver," said Luciano. "We came out more attacking oriented and aggressive than we were Friday so that is positive we can take away from this game."
The Highlanders sealed the win in the 81st minute with a goal from Sammy Arellano to give Riverside the 4-2 lead.
The Lumberjack saw some new starters in their second game of the season; junior Lauren Doud started in the midfield for the Lumberjacks and junior Torey Braly on the defensive line. Two freshman stepped into a starting role in Maddie Sjothun in the backline and Meghan Dickmann in goal. In her first career start, Dickmann came up with 13 saves.
"Today we were a lot more physical and we challenged a lot more balls," said Luciano."