(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – Ricardo Palomino scored in the fourth minute and the Montana State University Billings men’s soccer team never looked back in a resounding 6-0 triumph over visiting Colorado Christian University in the 2018 Rimrock Classic in memory of Trevor Wildberger at Yellowjacket Field Friday.
Palomino scored his first two goals of the year in the match, and four other Yellowjackets supplemented the scoring in the decisive victory. MSUB out-shot CCU by a dominant margin of 33-2, en route to picking up its first victory of the 2018 campaign in the home opener. The ‘Jackets are now 1-3 overall, while CCU falls to 0-2 with the loss.
“This win is for Trevor and his family,” said MSUB head coach Alex Balog. “It has been coming a little while, so I’m glad it’s out of the way. We started the game really well with the right mentality, focus, and intensity. Going forward, we have to start that way every game. Almost everyone on our roster saw the field for an extended time, which means the newcomers gained valuable NCAA DII experience.”
Sophomore Luca Battistotti added his first goal of the year in the 31st minute, and junior Ignacio Crespo netted a free kick in the 38th minute to make it a 4-0 edge for the ‘Jackets by halftime. Freshmen Austin Shafer and Andres Perez each notched their first collegiate goal in the second half, and senior goalkeeper Ludvig Rhodin collected his first clean sheet of the year.
“The fact that many of the newcomers got on the stat sheet shows that the future of this program looks bright,” said Balog. “Now we recover and focus on the game against Sonoma State on Sunday.”
Palomino found the net four minutes into the match, taking advantage of a shot by Marvin Putu that was saved and burying the carom into the back of the net. In the 20th minute, great foresight by Shantik Bedrosian set up Palomino’s second goal as he slotted a perfectly-weighted through ball past the defense and into the box. From there, the striker took a nifty touch past CCU goalkeeper Will Ford and tucked a low shot inside the far post.
On a day where MSUB won 11 corner kicks, it was a set piece from the corner in the 31st minute that pushed the score line to 3-0. Center back Samuele Folla pressed into the box and hit a shot off the crossbar, and fellow defenseman Battistotti was waiting in the wings for an easy finish.
After a foul at the top of the box in the 38th minute, Crespo picked out an on-target attempt with his dominant left foot and beat Ford with a high shot.
The Cougars had just one shot in the opening half – a set-piece attempt by Dmitri Fabro that missed wide of the left post from 30 yards out.
Just under 10 minutes into the second period, Perez got his first collegiate points. Patiently waiting in the box on the right side, the Pittsburg, California, native was ready when a punched ball by Ford came to his feet. He calmly curled a low shot into the back of the net, pushing the spread to 5-0.
The ‘Jackets continued to create chances through the final whistle, and found the net one more time in the 64th minute. Gaining possession of the ball inside the box, Brady Tesch fed a drop pass to Shafer who rolled home a left-footed shot under the keeper.
Rhodin made just one save on the afternoon, on a non-threatening attempt by Fabro that stood as CCU’s only attempt of the second half. Ford finished the game with six saves while facing a steady barrage of shots throughout the 90 minutes.
THE BUZZ: Palomino was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…the senior moved up to No. 3 in MSUB history with 24 goals…he is three goals away from matching Dave Austin (27) in the record books for No. 2 all-time…he led all players with seven shots, two off his career high which he has achieved twice…MSUB is now 10-3-1 all-time against Colorado Christian…the goal was the second in the career of both Battistotti and Crespo…the 33 shots by MSUB were the most in a game since Nov. 3, 2012, when the Yellowjackets reeled off 38 attempts in a 2-0 loss to Northwest Nazarene…the win was MSUB’s most decisive result since a 7-1 triumph over Saint Martin’s on Nov. 3, 2016 in Billings…it was the team’s first 6-0 shutout since a 6-0 win over Mary on Sept. 19, 2016.
COMING UP: The Rimrock Classic concludes on Sunday, with the Yellowjackets squaring off against west-region foe Sonoma State University. The Seawolves emerged victorious against the University of Mary on Friday, claiming a 2-0 win to move to 2-1 on the year. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. Sunday, and will follow a 1 p.m. match between Colorado Christian and Mary.