(Editor's note: University of Montana news release)
Montana junior Skyleigh Thompson, voted the Big Sky Conference Offensive MVP last month, added to her collection of postseason awards on Tuesday when she was named first-team All-West Region by the United Soccer Coaches.
She is the first Montana player ever to be voted first-team after a full fall season. The Grizzlies had a pair of first-team picks, Taylor Hansen and Claire Howard, following the abbreviated 2021 spring season.
Thompson was one of four Grizzlies to make the West Region teams, a program record for all-region selections.
Juniors Delaney Lou Schorr and Ava Samuelson, and redshirt freshman goalkeeper Ashlyn Dvorak were all named third-team.
Schorr, the Big Sky Conference Golden Boot winner, was voted third-team for the second consecutive season. She is only the fourth Montana player to repeat as an all-region pick, joining Shannon Forslund (1999, 2000), Taryn Miller (2017, ’18) and Hansen (2019, spring ’21).
Montana’s four selections matched the highest total in the region with Santa Clara and Portland, programs that have both won multiple national championships since 2000.
“To have that many players named all-region is pretty special,” said sixth-year Griz coach Chris Citowicki, who will have all four all-region selections back next season. “To have them all coming back to play another season is exciting.”
Thompson had a breakout season as a junior, scoring six goals and adding four assists. Schorr was close behind with five goals and four assists, while Samuelson ranked second in the Big Sky with six assists and was a key member of a record-setting defense at outside back.
Montana’s 33 goals in 2023 were the most for the program since 2000.
Dvorak played every minute in goal in the fall. She finished with 11 shutouts, a 0.47 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. She matched the program record for shutouts in a season. Her goals-against average and save percentage rank second in program history.
Dvorak ranks second nationally in save percentage and is tied for sixth in goals-against average and eighth in shutouts. Montana will end up leading the nation in team save percentage at .903. The Grizzlies’ nine goals allowed set both program and Big Sky Conference single-season records.
“For a redshirt freshman to get recognized like this is pretty impressive,” said Citowicki.
None of the awards would have come had it not been for Montana’s success as a team in the fall. The Grizzlies went 13-3-3 and unbeaten through league at 7-0-1.
Montana, which faced Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oregon State during nonconference play, has a lofty RPI of 95, which will be the program’s first finish in the top 100 for a fall season since the 2000 team, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, ended at 60.
“These awards are voted on by the coaches within the region. They look at your nonconference slate and who you’ve played and how you’ve performed against some of the elite conferences that are around you,” said Citowicki.
Montana had three all-region selections in both 1999 and 2014.