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Montana's Skyleigh Thompson earns Big Sky Conference player of the week honor

Montana vs Colorado State
Posted at 4:05 PM, Oct 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-18 18:05:07-04

(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)

MISSOULA — Montana junior Skyleigh Thompson, who totaled five points on the Grizzlies’ recent road sweep of Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado, was named the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Tuesday.

It is the first Big Sky Player of the Week award for the forward from Kalispell.

Thompson had a goal in Montana’s come-from-behind 2-1 win on Thursday at Northern Arizona, against the defending Big Sky champions, then had a goal and an assist in Sunday’s 3-0 win at Northern Colorado, the Grizzlies’ first victory over the Bears in Greeley since 2009.

Her performance was noted on the national scene as well. On Monday, Thompson was one of 12 players named to the Women’s Team of the Week by College Soccer News.

Thompson’s goal against the Lumberjacks, in the 19th minute, came shortly after Northern Arizona opened the scoring on an electric night under the lights in Flagstaff and gave her team a chance to win it late, which Delaney Lou Schorr did, heading in an Ava Samuelson pass in the 84th minute.

Three days later, the Grizzlies made it a road-trip sweep with just their second-ever win over Northern Colorado in Greeley.

With Montana holding a 1-0 lead early in the second half, Thompson gave the Grizzlies some breathing room when she played a cross from the left side that Eliza Bentler touched to Abby Gearhart, who scored to make it 2-0.

Less than two minutes later, Thompson was dragged down in the box, resulting in a penalty kick, which she took and converted. It was her fifth goal of the season, which matched her total as a freshman and sophomore.

“Skye used to be high-energy, super athletic, fun to watch, which she still is, but the piece that was missing was that we needed goals, there has to be assists,” said coach Chris Citowicki. “If the game was going to flow through her, something has to happen for us to win games.

“It’s all nicely coming together for her. She is maturing as a Division I soccer player and not just a Division I athlete. She is the leading goal-scorer on the team right now. That’s the biggest piece.”

Thompson had three goals and an assist as a freshman, two goals and an assist as a sophomore. This season she has five goals and three assists and leads the team in scoring with 13 points.

Her penalty-kick goal against the Bears on Sunday was her 10th career goal. She is the 23rd player in program history to reach 10 career goals.

The road sweep has Montana (11-2-3, 5-0-1 BSC), which hasn’t lost since Sept. 10 and finished unbeaten (7-0-2) away from home during the regular season, sitting atop the Big Sky standings with one week of league matches remaining.

The Grizzlies host Sacramento State (4-7-5, 2-2-3 BSC) on Thursday at 3 p.m. at South Campus Stadium, second-place Portland State (7-6-2, 4-1-2 BSC) at noon on Sunday.

Montana will be trying to secure its ninth Big Sky regular-season championship, its third under Citowicki, its first since the 2021 spring season.