NAU grabs overtime victory in its final regular season game

Senior midfielder Mei-Te Coco runs through the team huddle Oct. 27. NAU defeated Idaho State 3-2 in overtime.

The Lumberjacks faced the Idaho State Bengals Sunday. They were celebrating Senior Day following a tough 1-1 draw against Weber State University that clinched them a spot in the Big Sky Conference Championship. Idaho State came into Max Spilsbury Field ranked No. 7 in the Big Sky hoping to wrap up their season with a win. However, the Lumberjacks squashed those hopes, winning 3-2 in overtime.

NAU opened the game strong, limiting the Bengals' possession in the first half but failed to find any success on offense. They were aided by an unusually strong wind in the first half that stopped the Bengals from effectively clearing the ball. However, Idaho State's defense held strong too, keeping the Lumberjacks out of shooting positions. Idaho State would see their fair share of opportunities but all would be snuffed out before the Bengals could put junior goalkeeper Taryn Benham under any pressure.

With 18 minutes remaining in the first half, Idaho State would break the deadlock on a goal from senior midfielder Natasha Camacho-Bier that narrowly found its way past Benham.

This goal woke up the Lumberjacks offense, who would score two goals in quick succession. The first was a cross from senior defender Amanda Bennett that was completed by junior midfielder Kayla Terhune, who headed the ball in at the back post. NAU sophomore defender Madison Montgomery passed a defender and put the ball behind senior goalkeeper Katie Hogarth to give the Lumberjacks their first lead of the day.

NAU would keep the pressure for the remainder of the half but couldn’t find their way past Hogarth, who finished the first half with five saves.

The second half would open with both teams snuffing out attacks before the Bangles could find an opportunity. Bengals senior midfielder Jazmin Lopez scored from just outside the 6-yard box, tying the game at two. The game would continue to be a physical battle as neither team wanted to be the first to concede another goal. The Lumberjacks would have no shortage of chances late in the game but could not find their way past Hogarth. Regulation would end in a draw. This the second time this weekend the Lumberjacks would head to overtime.

The Lumberjacks found early success on offense in overtime, scoring early on a cross that found sophomore midfielder Rylee Mitchell who put the ball over Hogarth, sealing the victory for the Lumberjacks.

“I just knew we had to score," Mitchell said. "It was overtime and we wanted to do it for our seniors.”

NAU heads to Colorado to participate in the Big Sky Championship, which will be played Nov. 6-10.

“I think we need to hit the reset button," NAU head coach Kylie Louw said. "We're a little bit fatigued, we have a lot [of players with the] flu, an epidemic basically,”

The Lumberjacks look to make a deep postseason run as the squad gears up for the Big Sky Tournament starting Nov. 6.