(Editor's note: MSUB media release)
BILLINGS - Three different Montana State University Billings women’s soccer players scored their first collegiate goal on Thursday afternoon at Yellowjacket Field, as the hosts cruised to a 3-0 win over visiting Minnesota State University Moorhead on the opening day of the Seventh Annual Rimrock Classic in Memory of Trevor Wildberger.
Freshmen Liberty Palmer and Kendall McGraw, and junior Sydney Torres each found the net in the second half, and Taylor Gertsch had a pair of assists in the one-sided result for the Yellowjackets.
“The second half we came out with more energy with everyone, and it is really nice to have that 3-0 win,” said Gertsch, who was masterful in the midfield on her way to her first two collegiate points. “It was nice to feel comfortable being up by that much, and it really gives me confidence having the second half be a different outcome than the first half.”
MSUB’s back line was rarely tested on Thursday, and Tuva Sallvin made it two shutouts in two matches played as she made all three saves required of her in the clean sheet.
“I was really pleased with the second half, being able to get all three goals, and we played with more intensity and fire which was definitely needed,” MSUB head coach Stephen Cavallo said. “This game is a great teachable moment for us, and I’m happy with the 3-0 victory and goals from three different players.”
The Yellowjackets improved to 2-1-1 overall on the season, and set up what promises to be an enthralling rematch against the University of Mary on Saturday after the Marauders topped Black Hills State University 3-0 in the opening game on Thursday. In Monday’s meeting in Bismarck, N.D., the Yellowjackets and Marauders battled to an intense, 1-1 double-overtime draw.
“It was a great college soccer game,” Cavallo commented on Monday’s draw against Mary. “We felt like that was a game their goalkeeper made some awesome saves against us. We want to make sure in the game on Saturday we bring that same intensity, same skill, and finish our chances against them so we get a final win before we enter GNAC play.”
“The first game on Monday we all brought it out there and we really fought for it, and I feel like this time around we are going to put in those goals,” Gertsch said on seeing Mary for the second time this week.
MSU Moorhead meanwhile slipped to 0-2 with Thursday’s defeat. The Dragons mustered just four shots in the game but placed three of them on target.
Although MSUB was lacking quality on the final touch in the opening half, the hosts dominated possession over the first 45 minutes of play. The Yellowjackets went into the halftime break with an 8-1 advantage in shots, including a few very near misses. Torres hinted she was on her way to her first goal in the 20th minute, when she touched a pass from Palmer off the top of the crossbar from within the box.
An offside flag rescued the Yellowjackets midway through the opening half, as a ball that wound up in the back of the net was negated due to the penalty to keep the score at 0-0. It proved to be the only serious scoring threat of the match for the Dragons.
MSUB came to life in the final third, with Palmer netting the game’s first goal in the 54th minute. Gertsch slotted a well-paced pass into the goal box, and Palmer nudged it with the outside of her right foot past charging Dragon goalkeeper Kayleigh Sedlacek and just inside the right goal post for her first collegiate goal. MSUB nearly scored again two minutes later, but a defender cleared the ball out an instant before Maddie Smith arrived inside the goal box.
Gertsch was again at the hands of an MSUB finish in the 65th minute, delivering yet another perfectly-weighted ball this time from deep in the Yellowjackets’ half all the way into the offensive third. From there, Torres ran past the MSUM back line and craftily touched a low shot past Sedlacek to make the score 2-0.
MSUB’s final finish of the game came off a corner kick in the 84th minute, as Jillian Hust laid off the ball towards a charging McGraw at the top of the goal box. The freshman blasted her way onto the score sheet with a screaming shot inside the right post to seal the game for the ‘Jackets.
Smith led MSUB with six shots in the match, while Torres added five and Hust took three.
“It is a good confidence builder for them, and Taylor Gertsch had an awesome two assists on the goals,” Cavallo commented on the team’s offensive production on Thursday.
THE BUZZ: Gertsch was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…Hust’s assist was the second of her career after she had one during the modified 2021 season…the Yellowjackets used all 22 active field players during Thursday’s match, with everyone playing at least 27 minutes…MSUB is now 1-1 all-time against MSUM and is 1-0 in home matches…MSUB’s 24 shots on Thursday were its most in a match since it had 30 on Sept. 12, 2015 against Academy of Art.
NEXT UP: After an off-day Friday, MSUB returns to the pitch with a 3 p.m. kickoff against University of Mary on Saturday afternoon.