NAU soccer suffers first Big Sky loss

MOSCOW, Idaho — Northern Arizona’s soccer team jumped on the scoreboard first against Idaho but the Vandals responded with two goals in two minutes as NAU suffers their first lost in the Big Sky 2-1 in Idaho. NAU is now 1-1-1 in the Big Sky this season.

"Our team played well enough to win today," NAU coach Andre Luciano said. "I have never been a part of a game as a player or as a coach where a team has scored off of two throw-ins. It is extremely difficult to play against a very direct team."

The Lumberjacks scored in the 24th minute of the first half off a header from freshman Adrian Nixt. Senior Savannah Berry crossed a ball into the box and Nixt was able to head in her fourth goal of the season. Berry’s assist against the Vandals gives her two assists on the season.

After NAU’s goal in the 24th minute, the Vandals responded with a goal in the 26thminute and in the 28th minute to take the 2-1 lead going into half. Both goals came off of throw-ins and the Vandals were able to capitalize on their opportunities.

It was an up-tempo game between the Lumberjacks and the Vandals as 32 shots were recorded between the two teams with ten on goal.

"I thought we did a good enough job of settling into the game and trying to keep possession," Luciano said. "When the ball is always in the air, it is tough to play against that but I am proud of the way my players competed today."

Northern Arizona’s defense played an exceptional 90 minutes as goalkeeper Natalie Gilbertson had to come up with just two saves in the entire match.

"The irony of this game is that Natalie only had to come up with two saves," Luciano said. "We created our own chances but we lost our focus on two set-pieces but give Idaho credit."

Haley Wingender had a season-high five shots in the game with three shots on goal. 12 different players recorded a shot for the Lumberjacks. This was the first time NAU had traveled to Moscow to face Idaho and the Vandals were able to stay undefeated in Big Sky play.

"What we can learn from this game is to never take an opponent lightly," Luciano said. "We have to be focused for 90 minutes during set pieces and throw-ins."