The Lumberjacks entered Monday’s match against Northern Colorado with a playoff spot secured. Coming off a tie with the Bears on Saturday, NAU looked to end the regular season on a high note with a road win.
Seven minutes into the match, a foul by an NAU defender set up a penalty kick that Northern Colorado graduate student midfielder Olivia Seddon converted, opening the scoring and taking the lead early in the match.
NAU was able to switch the field following the goal, but a takeaway by the Bears set them back up with another shot on goal in the 13th minute.
In the 15th minute, NAU sophomore defender Rylie Curran set up junior forward Sam Larberg with an accurate assist to bring the Lumberjacks an equalizer.
Northern Colorado was able to gain possession in the 24th minute and resume its attack, but the Lumberjacks were quick to clear any balls near their goal.
The Bears had a breakaway scoring chance in the 33th minute, getting the ball downfield and inside with two defenders. Senior goalkeeper Taryn Benham made a quick save on a ball threaded between her two defenders to keep her net clear.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half, both teams were looking to break the stalemate, but neither team could control possession of the ball. Northern Colorado went on an attack with limited time remaining in the period and got a shot off, but another Benham save kept the game tied at halftime.
The Bears were given a free kick near midfield in the 58th minute resulting in a corner kick, but they failed to capitalize.
NAU’s leading scorer in junior defender Madison Montgomery was set up with a penalty kick in the 64th minute, but sailed it over the goal.
In the 68th minute, a throw-in by Northern Colorado set up junior defender MacKenzie Bray with a goal to put the Bears ahead of the Lumberjacks, 2-1.
The Lumberjacks felt the pressure of the score and tried to find their footing to mount an offensive against the Bears, but Northern Colorado put another shot past the NAU goalkeeper in the 74th minute. The score came on a setup from junior defender Lindsi Jennings to senior forward Kaitlyn Meeder.
For the remainder of the match, NAU struggled to maintain possession of the ball as Northern Colorado kept pressure on the Lumberjacks.
The Bears went into conservative play with six minutes remaining, clearing any balls in their zone back deep into NAU territory. The Lumberjacks were able to gain more control of their offense with all Northern Colorado defenders playing back, but NAU could not get anything past the Bears’ solid defense.
Benham finished the match with three saves, and NAU soccer wrapped up its conference schedule with a record of 5-1-1. The Lumberjacks will now look toward the Big Sky Conference Championship in Ogden, Utah beginning April 15.