Nighthawks Earn Pair of Shutouts, Team of the Week Honors
Northwest Nazarene shut down both of its opponents this week including a 1-0 victory over No. 14 West Texas A&M.
Northwest Nazarene shut down both of its opponents this week including a 1-0 victory over No. 14 West Texas A&M.

Monday, September 12, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – Northwest Nazarene has been one of the best-performing teams in the GNAC to start the year, taking care of business on the road before returning home to Nampa last weekend.

The Nighthawks showed that they are the real deal heading into conference play with a pair of shutout wins in their first homestand. On Tuesday the Nighthawks won their home opener, 3-0, over Chaminade and closed the week with a 1-0 victory against No. 14 West Texas A&M on Saturday, earning GNAC Team of the Week honors.

On Tuesday against Chaminade, the Nighthawks’ defense completely stifled the Silverswords’ offense, allowing only one shot. While the defense took care of matters in NNU’s end, the offense got to work at the other end of the pitch, rattling off 13 shots and capitalizing three times in the second half with goals from Lorenzo Valentini, Sullivan Smith and Daniel Brendel.

On Saturday, Northwest Nazarene proved themselves against some of the top competition in the country when they took a 1-0 win over No. 14 West Texas A&M with a stellar all-around effort.

The Nighthawks allowed only three shots on net, with goalkeeper Sawyer Price saving all of them. Smith only needed one shot to score the game-winning goal for NNU and buried it in the 33rd minute off an assist from Jake Levine. The goal was the second of Smith’s week and Levine’s third assist of the season, which leads the GNAC.

Along with sweeping their matches, NNU players swept GNAC Player of the Week Awards. Smith was recognized offensively for his pair of goals while Valentini was a key player on the back line for the Nighthawks in a week where they allowed just three shots on goal.

With the clean sheets this week, the Nighthawks are tied for first in the conference with three shutouts on the season. Along with the two shutouts, Northwest Nazarene was second in the GNAC in goals last week with four, and in points with 10. After the third week of play, NNU owns a 4-1-1 record.

Northwest Nazarene head coach John Powell was happy with the energy the Nighthawks played with over the week and the preparation that they put in beforehand.

“I think the guys prepared extremely well for the week,” Powell said. “We looked fresh and full of energy for both matches. We had some great moments in possession and were very dangerous over the weekend. On the defensive side of the ball, we were led by Sawyer, Lorenzo and Braeden [Anderson] who not only defended exceptionally well, but organized us and were calm while on the ball to start our build. Overall, I’m proud of the team and their performances against two tough teams that posed different problems. We will look to rest this week and prepare for a difficult GNAC schedule.”

The Nighthawks will have a week off to recover before opening conference play on Saturday, Sept. 24, at home against Saint Martin’s.

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