(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – Three different players found the back of the net and the defensive unit allowed just one shot on target for host Montana State University Billings Saturday afternoon, as the Yellowjackets rolled to a 3-0 win over Black Hills State University in the 2018 Rimrock Classic in memory of Trevor Wildberger at Yellowjacket Field.
Claiming its first home win of the season and second shutout victory in the last three matches, MSUB improved to 2-1-1 with the result. Junior Claire Tevaseu scored her first career goal, Alexa Iacolucci added her second of the season, and senior Jordan Devoto capped it off with her first goal of the year coming in the 82nd minute.
“I was kind of surprised it went in honestly,” Tevaseu commented on her first collegiate goal. “I didn’t know to celebrate at first because I had never scored, so it was pretty awesome.”
Tevaseu hinted she was on her way to scoring early on, as she came inches away from a goal four minutes into the match. Her right-footed shot on a drop pass from Devoto rattled off the bottom of the crossbar, and marked the first of 19 attempts the ‘Jackets had on the day.
“Today was a good game, and everyone really contributed to the match,” said MSUB head coach Stephen Cavallo. “We were disappointed with the result on Thursday, but I am proud of the resolve this group has. We got a lot of different people involved in the attack.”
Among the eight different players who had a shot in the match for MSUB, seven had more than one attempt. Freshman Cassidy O’Dell led all players with five shots, and notched her first two collegiate assists to claim St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game honors. “She is doing a very good job, especially as a freshman coming in,” Tevaseu commented on O’Dell, who played the cross that she finished in the 29th minute. “It’s awesome to have a forward who can serve and score goals, and I’m trying to react to that and get on the end of it which is really good.”
Kalin Sandow had a crucial defensive tackle early on in the match, sliding in the nick of time to knock the ball away and prevent an open-net shot for BHSU’s Ella Goodman. “We just really wanted to get that home win, and we really needed that to propel ourselves forward,” said Sandow, a junior center back. “It feels great knowing we held them to little-to-no shots on goal, and to be able to say we have multiple shutout wins now is really nice.”
Iacolucci came close to doubling the score just five minutes into the second half, as it took a diving save by BHSU keeper Zoe Baldwin to knock away her 25-yard free-kick attempt. Hallie Vervair set up the next free-kick attempt in the 56th minute, drawing a foul at the top of the box. This time, Iacolucci’s left-footed strike curled into the upper corner of the net to make it a 2-0 game.
BHSU (0-5) claimed its first corner kick of the match with 28 minutes left to play, but the Yellowjackets dealt with it well as Theodora Hjaltadottir moved off her near-post position to clear the ball away from danger. Courteney Shovlin displayed equally impressive defensive work on the opposite side, chasing down Goodman and winning the ball before a threat materialized.
Goodman and Rachel Erickson tied for the team lead with two shots apiece for BHSU, while Baldwin made three saves in the net for the visiting team.
MSUB’s sixth and final corner kick of the match yielded the last goal, as O’Dell delivered a high, arcing cross towards the back post. After a header by freshman Josie Corbin, Devoto was there to tap the loose ball into the back of the net for her fifth career goal.
“I felt like we ended the game on the front foot, with positive, attacking play,” said Cavallo. “We were able to get a lot of the freshmen in, and they continue to raise the level of the game. I am proud of the total team effort.”
Yellowjacket goalkeeper Erinn Harder made the one save required of her in order to log her first clean sheet and win of the season.
THE BUZZ: MSUB is now 2-0 all-time against Black Hills State, after a 4-1 win in the inaugural match last season…the goal was the seventh of Iacolucci’s career, all of which have come on set pieces…the University of Nebraska Kearney defeated the University of Mary 1-0 in the first game of Saturday’s action at the Rimrock Classic.
CLUB DAY SPECIAL: Saturday marked Club Day at Yellowjacket Field, with youth players from around the area attending while wearing their local club team jerseys. After the match, MSUB players did a meet-and-greet session with the local children, signing posters and posing for pictures.
COMING UP: The Yellowjackets have a final non-conference contest on Tuesday, as they travel to Great Falls, Montana, to face the University of Providence. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Argo Field.