Lumberjacks scoreless again at home, draw with Eastern Washington
By Domenique Pennacchio
Suspense covered the field Oct. 22 as the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Lumberjacks played against the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Eagles. Both teams were neck-and-neck through the entire game as intensity grew from the first half, all the way to the second overtime.
Close calls at the goal for each team with advancing attempts one after the other left both teams wanting more as they pushed beyond their limits to try to be the team to score. Tight plays were executed well, along with a few tumbles over opposing players’ cleats.
The night consisted of a number of collisions resulting in a few injuries for the Lumberjacks. During the first period, EWU’s Danielle Jones collided with NAU’s Emily Roth within the first 15 minutes. Senior Laura Johnson entered the game as Jones’ replacement.
Lumberjack forward Elinor Priest was the spotlight corner kicker of the night, as she took advantage when kicking the majority of them. Both teams totaled seven corner kicks apiece. In the beginning of the second period, one of Priest’s corner kicks almost led to a goal with a lot of energy in front of the net.
Advancing for an additional close goal call, Lumberjack forward Demi Schmieder came in close contact with Eagle’s Katie Cashman as they both collided into each other, putting Schmieder out for a portion of the game.
As players had closeness with other players, so did the ball with the goal post. Shocking everyone with 18:10 left in the second half, EWU drove the ball in front of the goal and just barely missed when it went over the net. Seconds later, Schmieder was set up with a possible goal with the help of the team’s midfielders and forwards but also missed.
With the final score of 0—0 , the Lumberjacks are worried about their slight possibility to come back on Sunday, the final game of the conference tournament.
“I think mathematically, we are out of the conference tournament,” said NAU coach Andre Luciano. “I hope that we have a strong finish and end up with 15 points and finish right behind everybody by one point and that’s all I can ask for.”
Coach Luciano also stressed to every player the importance of learning something from the way the team played.
“I think the problem with our team this year is that we don’t have killer instinct in front of [the] goal; we lack that and that is something we’re going to have to grow. We either find it here, or find it from somewhere else with other players coming in,” Luciano said.
The repetitive 0-0 tied games have been NAU’s story this season, with Friday’s game being the third consecutive 0-0 double-overtime at Lumberjack Stadium. The match against Montana this Sunday holds potential for the Lumberjacks’ seasonal record if they get their three needed points.
“So, we have to win Sunday and get three points; that’ll put us at 15 and we have to hope for the best,” said senior Georgia Foltz. “We have to get pissed, not down.”
Foltz said she doesn’t deny the faith she has in her team, regardless of Friday being one of her last games before she graduates.
Sophomore Emily Roth respect’s Foltz ‘grandmother’ role to the team, as it gives her and everyone inspiration to go on and to do the best they can.
“Our seniors this year are really dedicated to our team and the program. They always have a great attitude and work ethic every time they step on the field,” Roth said.
The Lumberjacks have learned to stick together through thick and thin, through the wins and the losses.
“The example they set on and off the field motivates the rest of our team to do their best,” Roth said.
As coach Luciano has some doubts about their seasonal goals being met this Sunday, he explains “Stranger things have happened.” The Lumberjacks continue to push and give it their all as the team family connection truly shines.