(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
MISSOULA – Doing all of its scoring in the second half on Sunday afternoon at South Campus Stadium, the University of Montana picked up a 4-0 women’s soccer exhibition win over visiting Montana State University Billings.
The teams were level 0-0 after the first 45 minutes of play, before the hosts scored shortly after halftime and then bolstered the win with three goals in the final 20 minutes of action. “I am proud of our team for the bravery, energy, and effort they showed,” said MSUB head coach Stephen Cavallo. “We knew we had large spells in the game we would suffer possession wise, but I felt our defensive organization was great and our game plan worked for large portions of the match.”
Jaden Griggs highlighted the match with a hat trick for the Griz (0-0), while Bella O’Brien also found the net for the hosts. Taylor Hansen had a pair of assists, while Ali Monroe, Allie Larsen, and Molly Quarry each had one assist in the match.
The Yellowjackets, who remain 0-0 after the exhibition contest, faced a barrage of shots in the match as the Griz out-paced them 31-8 in that category. UM also won 10 corner kicks while conceding none.
MSUB’s best scoring chances came early on as its only three shots on frame all came in the opening 45 minutes of play. Goalkeeper Camelia Xu made all three saves required however, and earned the shutout with 90 minutes between the posts.
Clare Keenan made three saves in the opening half to help keep the score at 0-0, and Tuva Sallvin made four stops in her 45 minutes to close out the game. Senior Haylee Gunter and freshman Jackie Sharpe paced the MSUB offense with two shots apiece, while Gunter, Leila Clark, and Lexie Bloyder each landed an attempt on target.
Vendela Andersson led the defensive unit playing all 90 minutes on the back line, while Bloyder played 79 minutes and Hailee Gertsch contributed 70 as a center back.
Griggs got the Griz on the board shortly after the teams returned to the pitch, as she netted the game’s first goal in the 51st minute on Hansen’s first assist. She doubled her tally in the 70th minute on a feed from Monroe, and completed the hat trick with seven minutes left on the clock on Larsen’s assist. O’Brien added one more goal for good measure with just two minutes remaining, as Hansen and Quarry combined on a pair of passes leading to the final score.
“These matches truly prepare us for the war that is the Great Northwest Athletic Conference,” Cavallo said. “I am proud of what our team has accomplished this pre-season, and I believe we have learned a lot through these two weeks about ourselves. We are looking forward to our first countable games this upcoming week.”
The 2021 regular season kicks off this week with road matches against Northern State University on Thursday and University of Nebraska Kearney on Saturday. The ‘Jackets have five non-conference matches in September, before kicking off the 14-game GNAC schedule on Sept. 23 against Seattle Pacific.
MSUB's men closed their pre-season schedule with a bang Sunday afternoon at Yellowjacket Field shutting out Carroll College 2-0 behind a pair of goals from junior Marvin Putu.
The French international found the net in the eighth minute, before adding a brace in the 84th minute to ensure the Yellowjackets collected their third straight exhibition win to start the year. MSUB’s record remained at 0-0 after the game, while Carroll moved to 0-1. “I’m just happy to be on the field and healthy,” said Putu, who missed significant playing time in each of the last three seasons due to injuries. “The team is working really hard, and I feel like we are ready as a team. We have a lot of confidence, and we know what we have to do.”
The Yellowjackets out-shot the Saints 18-7 in the match, including a mark of 11-3 during a dominant opening 45 minutes of play. “We had the idea today to put them under pressure, and when we lost the ball to get it back right away,” MSUB head coach Thomas Chameraud commented on the team’s gameplan Sunday. “Everyone on the team as a whole helped bring that pressure, and we didn’t give them too many shots.”
The Yellowjackets struck first early in the opening half, when Putu took advantage of a loose ball inside the goal box and punched it into the back of the net off the foot of a defender. The finish came on a cross from Tybalt Thornberry amid a strong spell of Yellowjacket possession, as MSUB dictated the pace of play early on.
The Saints (0-1) had a chance to strike back shortly after conceding the opening goal, winning a dangerous free kick just outside the goal box. MSUB goalkeeper Georgios Theodoulidis slid to his right to knock away the low attempt and preserve the 1-0 advantage. It was one of the four saves he made in the match, as he helped navigate the ‘Jackets to the halftime break with the lead in their hands.
While the Saints gained some momentum at the outset of the second half, the ‘Jackets withstood the pressure and maintained their lead into the closing minutes. Putu’s important second goal came on a pass from Pascal Pisarek, and left no doubt that the ‘Jackets would complete a perfect pre-season schedule. “The first goal I saw the rebound and I just went for it,” Putu said. “The second one I’d like to thank Pascal because he’s the one who assisted me. It’s always nice to score, and I hope I will keep helping the team win.”
“Marvin started the game fairly well,” Chameraud said. “We found him in the gaps in those tight spaces, and when Marvin can go forward on his first touch he is a quality player. Today I’m glad he was on the end of two plays to score two goals for us.”
Halil Yilmaz led MSUB with six shots in the match, while Putu placed all three attempts he took on target. Santiago Morazzani had a team-high two shots on goal for Carroll, and Saints goalkeeper Kaden Connor made five saves as he did the best he could to keep his team in the match.
The Yellowjackets begin their official 2021 fall season this 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.
“We are going to have some different competition now,” Chameraud commented at the outset of the 2021 regular season. “Texas A&M International on Thursday will be a very good game for us and will be very competitive. It’s going to be the real deal now, and the guys will have to keep playing at a high level if we are going to get wins on this trip. It will be a difficult one with three games in four days, but we are looking forward to it.”