Returning home from a 0-1-1 road trip record, the Lumberjacks were unsuccessful in ending the University of Montana’s three game winning streak as NAU moves to 5-6-2 in the season. Coming into the matchup, the Lumberjacks were undefeated at home and sought to continue that streak, but fell to the Grizzlies 1-0.
Starting the match, both teams were aggressive, but the Grizzlies defense was efficient in stopping NAU’s attacks. In the seventeenth minute, Montana had a counterattack that looked promising. If not for senior defender Amanda Bennett’s spectacular save, the Grizzlies would have had a magnificent goal to put the Lumberjacks on their heels. With both teams fighting for control of the game, the first half shaped out with only 4 shots in total.
Going into halftime, the game was a stalemate at 0-0. Entering the match, the University of Montana was second in the conference for least goals allowed, and it showed in their performance. The Grizzlies only let NAU shoot two shots in the half, which is much lower than the NAU average of 14.8 per game. The Lumberjacks had several opportunities inside the box but were unable to capitalize. Montana’s defense was the dominant force in the half as they negated multiple attacks that seemed relentless.
“We had to beat the two centerbacks to get a shot off,” said head coach Kylie Louw. “They were really good at getting numbers behind. We couldn’t find a space or moment to get it off.”
Coming out of halftime, Montana displayed more aggression as they forced the pressure onto NAU’s defense. The Lumberjacks defense endured the first punches coming out of halftime as they advanced the game to a more neutral setting.
In the sixty-fourth minute, the Grizzlies had a one-on-one opportunity at scoring against Bennett. Bennett met the striker just outside the west side of the box and fouled her, which garnered her a yellow card.
With 21 minutes left, Montana set up for a free kick a couple yards outside the east side of the box. Junior forward Alexa Coyle exploited the opportunity and successfully headed the ball into the net, putting the Grizzlies up 1-0.
NAU was unable to overcome the stifling defense that the University of Montana put forth, and the Lumberjacks lost 1-0.
With the loss Oct. 11, the Lumberjacks are no longer undefeated at home. NAU will now get ready for a matchup against the University of Northern Colorado Oct. 13 at Max Spilsbury Stadium.