After clinching a spot in the 2017 Big Sky Conference Championship tournament with Friday's win over Sacramento State, the Northern Arizona women's soccer team is set to compete in the first round on Wednesday. Head coach Andre Luciano and the Lumberjacks will face the No. 4-seeded Portland State University at 1 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
The semifinal match will take place Friday and the championship will be Sunday.
Earlier in the season, the Lumberjacks took on the Vikings, falling 1-0 in regulation. Northern Arizona picked up their sixth loss of the season in Portland and just the second of the Big Sky. The Vikings finished the regular season 8-9-1 overall and 5-4-1 in conference after most recently tying Montana in Missoula 1-1. Portland State's four conference losses were to Weber State, Eastern Washington, North Dakota and Northern Colorado. The Vikings are led by Katie Forsee, who delivered the lone game-winning goal against the Lumberjacks. She has scored nine goals this season and assisted three for 21 points in her final year.
With a win over Portland State, the Lumberjacks would face No. 1 Eastern Washington, the host of the semifinals and receiver of the first-round bye. Eastern Washington enters the tournament 14-5-1 overall and 8-1-1 in the Big Sky falling to Idaho in the last game of the regular season. Before that lost, the Eagles were on a nine-game unbeaten streak. Leading Eastern Washington is senior Chloe Williams, who has had a decorated season for her school and the Big Sky. She has recorded 10 goals, three game-winners, two assists and 89 shots.
On Tuesday, the Big Sky Conference announced sophomore Carly Gamble and senior Adrian Nixt to the All-Conference teams. Gamble was named to the first team as a defender and Nixt, a forward, was named to the second team.
Gamble emerged as leader for the Lumberjacks this season, starting in all 19 games so far and accumulating 1,649 minutes of play, the most on the team. As a midfielder, she took eight shots, landing four on frame and scoring her first goal of the season and third of her career.
Nixt followed up a stellar junior performance with another top year as a senior for the Lumberjacks, once again making her way into the NAU record books. Nixt is currently fourth in program history in game-winning goals (10), fifth in overall points (64), fifth in shots (176), tied for fifth in goals (25) and tied for sixth in assists (14). The Portland, Ore. native has scored seven goals, two game winners and totaled 19 points so far on the season. She is leading the Lumberjacks in every offensive category including attempted shots with 49 and a career-high five assists. In NAU's all-time single season records, Nixt has recorded a hat trick and is averaging a point per match.
Days after the Northern Arizona cross country teams defended their titles by sweeping the Big Sky Conference Championships, both the men's and women's squads remained in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Rankings released on Tuesday. The men stayed as the No. 1 team in the country for the seventh-consecutive week to open the year while the women were ranked No. 29 in their second appearance in the poll this season.
The Lumberjacks men received a score of 355 points overall to keep control of the top spot with eight first-place votes. BYU (352 points), Syracuse (332), Stanford (324) and Colorado (307) rounded out the nation's top five.
Dating back to last season, NAU has sat atop the national rankings for a school record 13 straight weeks. To go with the USTFCCCA No. 1 spot, Northern Arizona was also selected as the top team in the country in FloTrack's Week 6 rankings.
FloTrack also has individual rankings for athletes, and slotted Tyler Day as the seventh-best runner in the country. Matt Baxter came in eighth while Andy Trouard was selected 10th.
On the women's side, NAU earned 39 points to take control of 29th overall. It is a three-spot drop since the last poll despite the Lumberjacks collecting their third Big Sky title in the past four seasons.
Both the men's and women's teams are getting geared up for the NCAA Mountain Regionals, which will be ran Nov. 10 in Logan, Utah. The NCAA Championships will take place the following week on Saturday, Nov. 18, in Louisville, Kentucky.