Wildcats dominate play, but can't beat NAU

(Photo by Tyler Brown) Weber State University’s Mackenzie Harrison takes the ball past a Northern Arizona University player during a game on Saturday.

On Friday afternoon, the Weber State University soccer team controlled the game against Northern Arizona University, but the Lumberjacks took advantage of a lapse in play and scored the only goal of the match.

In the 39th minute, NAU’s Cierra Gamble put home the winning goal off a rebound from a blocked shot, giving the ’Jacks the win.

Despite the loss, the Wildcats were the more dominant team. WSU took a season-high 24 shot attempts, with 11 shots on target. Defensively, the ’Cats were strong, holding NAU to eight attempts, with five shots on goal.

WSU saw a strong performance from younger players on the team, with freshmen Stacy Bair and Chansi Crompton and sophomore Ryley Hansen each recording four shots in the match. In the first half of the match, the Wildcats outshot NAU 13-7, and in the second half they dominated play, outshooting the Lumberjacks 11-1, but were unable to find the net.

Bair said she was looking to do anything to help her team.

“I just wanted to go out and play and try to help my team,” Bair said.

WSU controlled much of the match during the opening half, controlling the ball for long periods of time, but NAU took advantage of the chance it was given late in the first half.

The Lumberjacks’ match-winner came after Elinor Priest hit a shot that was blocked, with the rebound coming back to Nicole Sherwin, who played it to Gamble, who slotted it into the net.

NAU had a brief flood of shot attempts after the goal, but recorded only one shot in the final 48 minutes of the match as it sent the ball to the corners repeatedly in the second half in an apparent attempt to outrun the clock.

While the Wildcats didn’t possess the ball as much in the second half, they did still dominate the shot attempts category, allowing NAU only one shot. WSU’s best chance to score came in the second half, off of a hard 25-yarder by Bair that rattled the crossbar in the 63rd minute.

WSU also took on Southern Utah University on Sunday, but, at the time of this publication, the score was unavailable. Next up for the Wildcats is Idaho State University, then WSU will head on the road to face Sacramento State University and Portland State University before returning home to close out the season.

Last year, WSU had two home matches the entire year. Head Coach Tim Crompton said playing more games at home has helped WSU.

“It is important to play at home,” Crompton said. “Sometimes you have to learn to win at home, as well as on the road. I like the balance that our schedule has.”

ISU is currently in fourth place in the conference. SSU is a spot ahead of WSU in the standings, while PSU is in third place.

WSU has one win in Big Sky Conference play, which came against Eastern Washington University. The Wildcats are in second-to-last place in the conference standings.