MISSOULA – Montana Grizzly soccer head coach Mark Plakorus is dealing with one of those good problems. He has put together a team with so much talent, he can’t get them all on the field at the same time.
Montana has jumped out to a 5-3 start, with two of those losses coming against Big Ten opponents Nebraska and Iowa, both by 1-0 scores.
In their most recent match, the Griz became the first team to score on previously unbeaten Northern Iowa. Freshmen Rita Lang and Raye Burton both found the back of the net in a 2-1 victory.
The combination of a strong freshman class and an experienced group of upperclassmen gives Plakorus a lot of options.
“We can go probably 24-25 players deep without any change to our level of play,” said the coach in his seventh year at Montana. “It can be frustrating at times for some players who don’t get as much time as they’d like, but the key is we talk to them all the time about, ‘Just be ready. When you get your chance make a difference for us.'”
“The depth we have, I haven’t seen anything like it since I’ve been here,” said senior midfielder/defender Kaitlin Crowell. “The freshmen, you can’t expect anything more from them. They’re just giving it everything. They’re not even playing like freshmen. They’re playing like they’ve had a couple seasons under their belts, so it’s great.”
Montana takes on one more very difficult week before kicking off Big Sky Conference play. The Grizzlies face a pair of Pac-12 challengers, starting with a trip to Oregon Friday night. Then the Griz return home for the first time in three weeks to host Washington State at 2 p.m. Sunday.