Conference action found its way to Flagstaff when the Northern Arizona women's soccer team hosted the Northern Colorado Bears at Lumberjack Stadium Friday night. Head coach Andre Luciano and the Lumberjacks defeated the Bears 1-0 in overtime to improve to 7-5 overall and 2-1 in the Big Sky.
It was a battle between two of the longest-tenured Big Sky women's soccer head coaches.
"This week the players got after it; we talked about being more direct and getting behind teams and using our pace," Luciano said. "Our players did exactly what we wanted them to, they did an awesome job. What else can you ask from your team?"
Northern Arizona had control of the game from the beginning. Despite going scoreless in regulation play, the Lumberjacks had multiple opportunities on goal. The Jacks recorded 18 shots compared to the Bears' eight.
After 90-plus minutes of soccer including a called-back offsides goal, the Lumberjacks came out to win in overtime. Senior Chantal Deroos already had two shots, one on goal, when she scored her first goal of the season in the 97th minute.
"We went into this overtime with this mentality that we are not losing," Deroos said. "I think the key was that we were able to apply pressure to their defense, forcing them to kick it forward, and as a result they weren't able to connect."
Defensively, the Lumberjacks held their own, with freshman goalkeeper Taryn Benham stepping in between the posts for the first time in her collegiate career.
"The team put their trust in me and I trusted them," Benham said. "All week we've worked on going at goal and being direct, and we did what we needed to."
Benham recorded five saves and her first conference shutout against Northern Colorado. The Lumberjacks broke a 7-7 overall series tie in program history with the win Friday night.
Northern Arizona will be back in action today against North Dakota at Lumberjack Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon.