(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – Wrapping up a perfect preseason on Sunday, the Montana State University Billings women’s soccer team toppled Yakima Valley College 3-0 in an exhibition contest at Yellowjacket Field.
The ‘Jackets won all three of their exhibition matches over the last two weeks, out-scoring the opposition by a line of 11-2 in the non-counting affairs.
Alexa Iacolucci got the scoring started, Julia Keller made it 2-0 before halftime, and Cassidy O’Dell was involved in all three goals including scoring one of her own in the 89th minute. All three players scored with their off foot, with Keller and O’Dell finishing with their left and Iacolucci finding the net with her right.
Possession was heavily dominated by the Yellowjackets, who out-shot the Yaks 16-2 in the match. “We are happy to finish off the pre-season with a 3-0 victory and our first shutout of the year,” said MSUB head coach Stephen Cavallo. “The three goals we scored today came from great individual efforts that showcase the skill within the team.”
Erinn Harder, Lili Delgadillo, and Abby Hamilton combined for the shutout in goal, and MSUB’s back line did not concede a shot on goal in the one-sided affair.
Iacolucci’s goal came 15 minutes into the match, as she finished a high shot from 25 yards out over goalkeeper Brynlee Ward’s head. The play started on the left side of the pitch, with O’Dell patiently holding up and feeding a through pass to an overlapping Keller. Her cross through the goal mouth was eventually played by Jordan Devoto back to Iacolucci, who emerged from the midfield and made the score 1-0.
Keller struck five minutes later on another witty distribution off the foot of O’Dell. This time, O’Dell drew a defender on before cutting a right-footed pass between three YVC players and into the goal box. From there Keller delivered a one-time finish with her left foot inside the far post.
MSUB held a 2-0 lead at halftime, after out-shooting YVC 12-0 in the first period. The Yaks gained some momentum to open the second half, possessing the ball more and creating their first two chances of the match. Midway through the second play was interrupted, when a passing thunderstorm provoked a delay of just over an hour.
Intensity elevated after the break, and the ‘Jackets withstood YVC’s most aggressive attack of the match. Lindsey Meyer played a long clearance from the defensive third, and watched as O’Dell ran onto the ball with one defender to beat. Calmly carrying it into the box, she edged her way towards the goal and curled a perfect shot just inside the near post and into the upper corner.
“This game really tested us mentally with injuries and a weather delay, but I am proud we were able to see out the result with a clean sheet,” Cavallo said.
O’Dell led the team with six shots, and placed three of them on frame. Brittany Little and Sessi Allot each had a shot for the visitors. Both teams remained at 0-0 on the year after the exhibition contest.
THE BUZZ: Iacolucci was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…Keller led the team with 80 minutes played…all 20 active players on MSUB’s roster saw the pitch Sunday.
COMING UP: The Yellowjackets open the 2018 regular season this week, playing against Colorado Christian University and Wayne State College on the road.