NAU women's soccer entered a road game versus the University of New Mexico (UNM) Lobos hoping to snap a two-game losing streak. The game against the middling Lobos seemed like an opportunity to get that done.
However, NAU did not start the game strong as they fell behind in the opening minute after junior UNM forward Leilani Baker put it past junior Lumberjack goalkeeper Taryn Benham just 38 seconds into the game.
The two teams went back and forth for the first 15 minutes. Eventually the Lobos found another goal when redshirt junior forward Gwen Maly put it past Benham.
Down by two goals, the Lumberjacks were treading water on yet another road game. It did not get any better when the Lobos scored their third goal in the 35th minute.
The Lumberjacks looked panicked and the offense was struggling to put pressure on goal. NAU scrapped hard in build up play but saw little results as UNM defense held strong, snuffing out any chance the Lumberjacks got before halftime. NAU looked sloppy all across the field with clear miscommunication and playing passes late. The Lumberjacks looked to forget the first half as quickly as possible.
"It's no secret that we're starting out slow," soccer head coach Kylie Louw said. "We're trying things as coaches but the players were well prepared. At the end of the day the players need to bring it, so it's on both groups."
Early in the second half the Lumberjacks changed the momentum of the game, keeping the Lobos goal under duress with a series of attacks that saw redshirt sophomore goalie Malia Vanisi working hard to maintain the shut out.
The vast majority of the opening ten minutes of the second half action would be spent on UNM's half, but the Lumberjacks still could not find their goal. It would once again become a back and forth affair for the remainder of the game with both teams struggling to put pressure on the others goal.
Both teams relied on long balls and quick counter attacks to get any sort of action. UNM got more comfortable spending time in the NAU half as the game went on. The Lumberjacks lacked energy throughout the game, never looking comfortable outside of the ten minute stretch to start the second half. UNM was able to maintain the 3-0 shutout and handing NAU their third straigh loss.
"We have to increase the effort," Louw said. "We have to increase the energy. We have to find a way to turn it around and that starts tomorrow."
The Lumberjacks losing streak is now extended to three games following a tough stretch of away games. NAU will play against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in a Friday road matchup.