(Photo courtesy MSU Billings)

MSUB media release

NAMPA, Idaho – Second-half goals from sophomores Jordan Devoto and Alycia Wright helped the Montana State University Billings women’s soccer team overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit, and defeat host Northwest Nazarene University 2-1 in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference match Thursday at the NNU soccer field.

Senior Kari Kastelic had assists on both of the goals, and played all 90 minutes on the defensive unit for the ‘Jackets. Devoto’s goal came in the 62nd minute, and Wright added her first of the year with the game-winner in the 75th minute. “We definitely picked it up the last 15 minutes of the first half and played with more urgency,” said MSUB head coach Wojtek Krakowiak. “I’m really proud that we stuck together, and we didn’t fold. We kept fighting, and it shows that this team has a lot of character and never gives up.”

The victory moved the Yellowjackets to 2-4-2 on the season, and the team remained unbeaten in conference play with a record of 2-0-1. The Crusaders fell to 2-7 on the year, and are still in search of their first league win at 0-4 in GNAC play.

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NNU took the lead in the 30th minute, on a play that developed into the right corner of the field. Hannah Holm played a through ball into the box, and Madi Taylor was there to finish it into the net from around eight yards away.

Midway through the first half, Devoto created a decent look offensively for MSUB by dribbling the ball into open space near the top of the goal box. The sophomore let loose a shot, but it was smothered by NNU’s back line before it approached goalkeeper Daniele Ortiz.

By halftime, NNU held a 4-3 advantage in shots, and Taylor’s goal was the only shot on frame for either team.

Taking over possession in the defensive third of the field, the Yellowjackets’ first goal of the game came on a long through ball from Kastelic. Devoto broke free from multiple defenders to get on the other end of the ball in the box, and finished her second goal of the season to even the score at 1-1.

MSUB struck again 13 minutes later, as the team won a corner kick to set up another scoring chance. Moving into the box, Kastelic was there to redirect a cross from Dana Lubieniecki, and Wright smashed home her first of the year from close range. “Our forwards kept the ball, made great runs, and combined well,” Krakowiak said referring to Devoto and Wright.

The Crusaders managed a pair of shots the rest of the match, and saved one of their most dangerous scoring chances for the final minute of play. Winning a corner kick in the 90th minute, it took a top-class save from MSUB keeper Lili Delgadillo on a close-range shot inside the box to keep the lead in the hands of the Yellowjackets.

Delgadillo finished with two saves in the match, also denying a shot by Kayla Williams at the start of the second half. In front of the sophomore keeper, Kastelic captained the back line as she and freshmen Courteney Shovlin, Kalin Sandow, and Amanda Hemmen all played the entire match. Jessica Spang also played the full 90 minutes for the ‘Jackets, contributing in the offensive third at attacking midfielder. “Kalin shut down NNU’s offense very well on her side, and was a crucial part of our win today,” Krakowiak said.

Wright and Devoto tied for the team high with three shots apiece, while Alexa Iacolucci had a pair of shots including one on target. For NNU, Cassandra Clarke and Williams each had a pair of shots, and Ortiz matched Delgadillo’s total with two saves of her own. The Crusaders held a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks, but the ‘Jackets were the team to turn a chance from the corner into a goal.

“We are doing really well right now, and we definitely have momentum,” Krakowiak said. “The players are really coming together, and we really played well as a team the last three games. We are really happy with this win, and the players definitely earned the win today.”