The women's soccer team finished their season with a tough overtime loss against the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) Bears during the Big Sky quarterfinal match. Following a solid 1-1 battle in regulation, the Bears scored an early goal in overtime, concluding NAU's up and down season.
Coming into Wednesday's match, NAU was poised to make a postseason run after beating the Bears 2-0 in its previous meeting in Flagstaff. But this time, the Lumberjacks would need to march into Greeley, Colorado.
The game opened as most of the Lumberjacks competitions have this season, both teams failing to capitalize on few opportunities. It was a physical affair for both contenders as neither team wanted to back down from the gridlock, with a total of six fouls committed in the first half. At the end of the half, NAU led the shot count 5-3 but neither team was able to break the tie.
The Lumberjacks held possession in the Bears half at the start of the second half of regulation. Despite this, the Bears were the first to strike. Their first shot on target by junior forward Taylor Bray landed a well-placed cross in the back of the net.
NAU had to find its way back from the one-goal deficit. The Lumberjacks kept the pressure on, and as the clock reached the hour mark NAU's senior defender Amanda Bennett found junior Kayla Terhune at the back post, who headed the ball into the net.
UNC and NAU both saw chances as the half wound down. The Bears had possession a majority of the final 20 minutes, forcing NAU junior goalie Taryn Benham into the action but she held strong. For the third consecutive game, the Lumberjacks headed into overtime.
Despite coming off an overtime victory in NAU's final game of the season, they looked different in the extended game. The squad lacked energy and never looked to be on the front foot. NAU fell at the paws of the Bears as UNC sophomore forward Lexi Pulley scored off a cross, placing the ball low and past Benham to end the Lumberjacks season.
This marks the finale for the Lumberjacks season. They opened strong before an early-season road trip pushed them to the brink, but the squad rallied and managed to make the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.
NAU finished the season with a 4-4-2 confrence record and 8-8-3 overall record its first year with head coach Kylie Louw at the helm of the team.