MISSOULA – The Montana Grizzlies soccer team went through its share of offensive struggles through the middle of the season but the team put together the winning touch late to grab a spot in the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
Now the Griz want more.
Montana heads to Ogden, Utah with the No. 5 seed in the bracket, but first-year head coach Chris Citowicki says he has never seen a conference as close as the Big Sky this year. He feels all six teams have a legitimate shot to win, including his Grizzlies.
UM opens against Northern Arizona, a tough team that UM fought to a 0-0 draw two-and-a-half weeks ago.
“It’s going to be a physical game. It’s going to be a quick game,” said Citowicki. “They play in that unique formation, with that 4-4-2 that kind of looks like a box in the middle. So they’re definitely going to challenge us with that. But we dealt with it very well. We’re healthy, we’re confident, and we’re just ready for it.”
Citowicki said that draw against the Lumberjacks felt like a turning point. Even though the Griz didn’t score, the coach said his team controlled the game. The Griz will try to do the same in the first round of the tournament at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Montana put four players on the Big Sky all-conference soccer teams. The senior leader of their outstanding defense, Taryn Miller, lands on the first team. Senior Janessa Fowler was picked second-team midfielder, although she has also played on defense and at forward this season. Keeper Claire Howard and forward Kennedy Yost received honorable mention.