(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Three Montana State University Billings soccer players found the back of the net in Wednesday’s convincing 3-0 men's exhibition triumph over visiting University of Providence at Yellowjacket Field.
Valdemar Fogt gave the Yellowjackets an early 1-0 lead in the first half, before Jayse Judkins and Halil Yilmaz each converted in the second half to seal the solid victory. “The guys are buying into what we are doing, our style of play, and our philosophy,” MSUB head coach Thomas Chameraud commented on the team’s first two weeks of training and preseason matches. “There is still some work left to do, and we have a couple of practices left before we leave to Colorado. The guys are understanding the way we want to play, and they are playing fairly well so far.”
Fogt’s goal was the result of a notable individual effort by Ty Vohland, who set up the strike on a play that started in the Yellowjackets’ half of the field. Carrying the ball into open space, Vohland muscled off a pair of defenders en route to the right side of the goal box before he laid off a pass to Fogt. The freshman handled the rest, tapping the ball into an open net to make the score 1-0 in the 26th minute of play.
Though the Yellowjackets dictated the pace of play in the opening 45 minutes, they settled for a 1-0 advantage at halftime before turning the level up a notch. “We started fairly well and had the possession throughout the entire game,” said Chameraud. “We just had to raise our expectation and our level a little bit. In the second half we scored a couple of goals, created some good chances, and we didn’t really give them anything. It was a clean sheet for us which is a good thing, but still it needs to be better.”
Judkins doubled MSUB’s tally in the 64th minute, punching a picture-perfect left-footed strike into the upper corner of the net from outside of the goal box. Yilmaz put a finishing touch on the 3-0 blanking in the 82nd minute, converting his attempt from 12 yards out. His finish came courtesy of Mathias Kjølner, who drew a foul inside the 18-yard box to set up the penalty. “Ty made a very good effort to fight for the ball from his own half, and kept chasing it into their half,” Chameraud said on the team’s opening goal of the match. “Jayse had a great shot from his left foot outside the box into the top corner, and that was a very good finish from him. And then Mathias got us that penalty kick that Ibo made into the goal. It showed the way we want to play, how aggressive we are, and it was a very good job from the whole team.”
Upperclassmen Luca Battistotti and Pascal Pisarek oversaw a rock solid back line, which limited the Argos to just one shot in the match. Aleksandar Garza and Kolten Unrein split an uneventful 90 minutes between the posts to combine for the shutout. “Defensively we worked really well,” said Battistotti, a fourth-year captain on the squad. “I think that we can do better, but considering that we have just been working for 10 days I think it was a good performance.”
Judkins and Yilmaz led MSUB’s 15-shot barrage with three strikes apiece, and 11 different players had an attempt with six Yellowjackets landing a strike on frame throughout the match. Evan Scholes had three saves in goal for the visitors, while George Almeida had Providence’s lone shot of the game. “We have to remain focused on our goals, and try to be even better for the next game,” said Battistotti. “We are working to get better, and the newcomers are really open minded. They are buying into what we are doing, and that is the main thing right now.”
MSUB’s final exhibition tune-up is on Sunday afternoon with a 3 p.m. home kickoff against Carroll College.
“Carroll should be an interesting game, and will be a good competition for us,” Chameraud said regarding MSUB’s Sunday opponent.
The Yellowjackets begin their official 2021 fall season next week with matches against Texas A&M International on Sept. 2, Colorado State-Pueblo on Sept. 4, and UC Colorado Springs on Sept. 5. MSUB will play six non-conference contests before jumping into its 10-game Great Northwest Athletic Conference schedule on Oct. 2 under the lights at Seattle Pacific.
MSUB's women also picked up an exhibition victory, 1-0 over visiting UP.
Hometown freshman Jillian Hust scored the game’s only goal within the first 10 minutes of play, and the Yellowjacket defense posted its second straight exhibition shutout to start off the 2021 fall season strong. Both teams’ records remained at 0-0 after the exhibition contest.
“Jillian has been training really well, and she had a great week,” MSUB head coach Stephen Cavallo commented on the forward’s performance. “I was really happy to see her score.”
Clare Keenan made the only save required of her in 90 minutes between the posts, and she kept a well-organized back line en route to the shutout. “The clean sheets are definitely a good thing – we want to make sure we are setting a good foundation defensively and I thought we did a good job with that,” said Cavallo. “We were able to get everyone involved today, so everyone was getting minutes and looks which was good. It was a good game to try different approaches lineup and formation wise. We wish we would have put more than one in the back of the net, but we started to play better in the second half which helped.”
It didn’t take the ‘Jackets long to strike first, as MSUB took a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute. Liberty Palmer fed a through ball along the left side of the pitch, where Haylee Gunter ran on and switched the ball across the top of the goal box. Hust worked around a defender and tucked a high shot just over the glove of UP goalkeeper Justine Humphry and under the crossbar.
“I just knew that a through ball was coming, so I just went onto it and shot it quick,” Hust commented on her goal-scoring play. “I just tried to get the shot off before the defender could get to me.”
It was the first of three on-target shots for Hust in the match, as she set the pace for MSUB during a game in which it out-shot the Argos 13-6 overall and held a 10-1 mark in strikes on frame. “We went really well throughout the back, from our defenders to the middle,” Hust commented on the back line’s performance. “We have really high energy, so I think if we just keep pushing with that and are positive in our next few practices we can definitely play good against the Griz.”
Freshmen Jackie Sharpe and Maddie Smith had a strong performance off the bench, each placing a pair of shots on target, while junior Sydney Torres was effective in the attack and had two shots as well.
Newcomer Abby Sena had a notable performance on the back line in 57 minutes off the bench, helping slot into the center back role and keep the shutout intact. Her most important challenge came in the closing minutes of the match, when she stood tough to fend off an Argonaut attacker who was facing an otherwise open net inside the goal box.
Humphrey had eight saves throughout the match, helping keep her team in it for the full 90 minutes of action.
The Yellowjackets close out their preseason on Sunday afternoon with a big test in the form of NCAA DI opponent University of Montana. Kickoff is scheduled for noon at South Campus Stadium in Missoula.
“Montana is going to test us certainly more than Rocky or Providence, and we are looking forward to that game,” Cavallo commented on the upcoming contest. “We feel it is good prep for teams like SPU and Western Washington in our conference, and hopefully our team will show up with a bunch of urgency.”
The official 2021 campaign kicks off next Thursday, with a road match against Northern State University. The ‘Jackets have five non-conference matches in September, before kicking off the 14-game Great Northwest Athletic Conference schedule on Sept. 23 against Seattle Pacific.