The Northern Arizona women’s soccer team put two goals up in the second half against Northern Colorado on the way to a 2-0 win on the road.
The goals came from senior Ari Gonzalez and freshman Ana Rivera. With the win, the Lumberjacks clinch a spot in the Big Sky Conference tournament.
“We have bigger aspirations than just clinching a spot in the conference tournament,” Lumberjacks head coach Andre Luciano said. “The team is special as we set the tone defensively, and the offense is just starting to hit their stride.”
The win pushed the Lumberjacks to 9-3-2 on the season and second in the Big Sky with a mark of 5-0-1, trailing only Weber State by half a game now. The two teams faced off in a 0-0 tie earlier in the season.
With the loss, Northern Colorado fell to 8-7-0 on the year and 4-2-0 in the conference.
The first half saw both teams rack up five shots apiece.
In the 45 minutes, Northern Arizona was able to show its strength by just giving up two shots on net. Sophomore goalkeeper Taryn Benham was able to display why she leads the conference in shutouts, as she made two big saves that kept the match tied up.
Once the second half started, it was all the visitors.
In the 48th minute, Gonzalez ran down the sideline where fellow senior Haleigh Van Allen split the defenders with a pass and find Gonzalez without breaking a stride. Gonzalez did the rest, putting the ball past the Bears goalkeeper Taylor Washington for her second score of the season.
“Van Allen and I have worked together for the past four years, and now we’ve gained the trust where we know we can count on each other,” Gonzalez said.
Less than 10 minutes after the first goal, Rivera found a cross from sophomore Kayla Terhune at the back post and scored on a one-timer. It was the freshman’s third goal in just six conference games.
Even with the two goals, the Northern Arizona defense held the highest-scoring team in the Big Sky to a shutout and nine shots, and the Lumberjacks marked their eighth shutout of the season.
Northern Arizona will be back in action Sunday in Missoula, Montana, against Montana at 11 a.m.
The Lumberjacks will be sending six of its players to the ITA Mountain Regionals from Sunday to Friday in Las Vegas.
The six consist of Tim Handel, Thomas Fisher, Lucas Taylor, Ruben Montano, Facundo Tumosa and Ron Idzon.
In the ITA Men's All-American Championships, the Lumberjacks had Taylor go 3-1 in singles. Handel got a win over the 79th-ranked singles player in the country, Matias Soto of Baylor. Finally, the duo of Handel and Montano took down the 35th-ranked duo of Kareem Allaf and Jonas Larsen of Iowa.
In 2017, the Lumberjacks found success at the same event in both singles and doubles. In singles, Handel was able to go 4-1 before losing in the the quarterfinals. Fisher went 3-2 and both Taylor and Montano picked up two wins. In doubles Handel and Montano were able to win the entire tournament, posting a 5-0 record throughout the week.