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MSU Billings women fall to Northwest Nazarene in GNAC opener, 4-0

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Posted at 8:39 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 10:39:18-04

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

NAMPA, Idaho – Facing its first Great Northwest Athletic Conference opponent of the spring season on Thursday night, the Montana State University Billings women’s soccer team endured a 4-0 setback at the hands of host Northwest Nazarene University at the NNU soccer field.

The Nighthawks (5-0) scored a pair of goals in each half and the Yellowjackets (2-3) had no answer on a slow offensive evening. “Today was certainly a wake-up call for our team,” said MSUB head coach Stephen Cavallo. “We really could not get anything going and made the game incredibly difficult for ourselves because we did not compete hard enough.”

Sierra Sanchez, who led all players with five shots in the match, scored a pair of goals to lead NNU’s offense. McKenzie Buell had a goal and a pair of assists, and Madison Grande also found the net for the Nighthawks.

Lexie Bloyder had one of MSUB’s shots on a night where the team was out-shot 27-6, while Ally Findlay and Jillian Hust each had notable contributions off the bench. “In a game with few positives, the performances of Lexie, Ally Findlay, and Jillian Hust were good,” Cavallo said. “This one hurts tonight, but let’s learn from it and get ready for another tough game tomorrow.”

MSUB goalkeeper Clare Keenan racked up 11 saves on a night where she faced a constant barrage of shots from the opposition. Alexis Montoya and Ariel Kotte meanwhile each made one save in combining to complete the shutout for the hosts.

Grande struck first, scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 26th minute off the first assist from Buell. Less than two minutes later, NNU doubled its lead to 2-0 when Buell finished a pass from Magda Wronski to put the Nighthawks comfortably ahead midway through the half.

Sanchez’s first goal of the game came eight minutes into the second half, when she tucked home an assist from Rikki Myers to push the game out of reach at 3-0. Sanchez struck again in the 63rd minute, this time on another helper from Buell to cap the scoring in the match.

The Nighthawks placed 15 of their 27 shot attempts on frame, and won nine corner kicks compared to three for MSUB. Vendela Andersson and Sydney Wate had the only two shots on goal in the game for the ‘Jackets.

THE BUZZ: Bloyder was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…MSUB is now 19-9-2 all-time against NNU and is 7-8-2 in matches played in Nampa.

NEXT UP: The ‘Jackets are back in action on Friday night, with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. Live video and live statistics for Friday’s match will be available online here. []