(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – Brady Tesch scored his first career goal for Montana State University Billings and Western Washington University leading scorer Georg Cholewa equalized with a penalty kick as the Yellowjackets and Vikings battled to a 1-1 double-overtime Great Northwest Athletic Conference draw Thursday afternoon at Yellowjacket Field.
Tesch’s finish came directly after halftime, as he checked in as an early sub after an injury and promptly put his team ahead 1-0 with his first touch of the half. After Cholewa’s penalty-kick goal in the 71st minute, neither side scored again in the 110-minute stalemate.
“Western Washington deserves respect for how they came and played here,” said MSUB head coach Alex Balog. “They put us on our heels for a large part of the game. Having said that, we had some quality chances to put the game away and didn’t do that unfortunately. What I take from this game, however, is how hard our whole team battled for one another. After taking two hits last week, they collectively stood up and matched WWU in intensity, physicality, and desire to get a result.”
The Vikings move to 5-4-1 overall and 1-2-1 in conference play after Thursday’s result. MSUB moves 4-6-2 overall and 1-3-1 in league games. The ‘Jackets secured the season series, after winning 2-1 at Western Washington on September 22.
WWU controlled the match for the majority of the opening half, but the score read 0-0 after 45 minutes despite a 9-1 shot advantage for the Vikings.
In the 48th minute, Luca Battistotti embarked on a long run down the left side of the field into the box, before sending a cross from the end line into open space towards the top. Tesch took one touch, and drilled a right-footed shot into the lower corner of the net inside the far post.
The ‘Jackets dodged a bullet eight minutes into the second half, when goalkeeper Ludvig Rhodin stopped a close-range shot by Cholewa and a powerful strike by Ryan Schaefer glanced off the bottom of the crossbar. Rhodin wound up with a season-high nine saves in the game, many of which came in crucial situations.
The ‘Jackets defended well for the next 20 minutes, but a foul inside the goal box set the Vikings up with the penalty kick opportunity. Cholewa scored his team-high fifth goal of the year, and it wound up being the final finish of the day.
With 14 minutes left in regulation, WWU had a golden chance to score after intercepting a pass in a dangerous part of the field. Drew Farnsworth slotted a precise through ball to Louis Genty in the box, and it took a diving stop by Rhodin to keep the score even.
The senior came through again four minutes later, with a fully-extended dive to catch a curling shot by Cholewa that was headed towards the upper-right corner of the goal.
The Vikings had another big attacking half, out-shooting MSUB 13-5 in the second. Overall WWU placed 10 of 26 shots on target, while the ‘Jackets were efficient in their few tries with 5 of 6 on frame.
Brandon Wolter had four big saves for the Vikings, while Cholewa had a season-high and game-leading nine shots including four on target.
Ricardo Palomino had half of his team’s shots, and managed to get two of his attempts on frame. Samuele Folla, Guillaume Kremer, Bryan Maxwell, and Adam Hepburn joined Battistotti in playing the full 110 minutes in the match, while Jeremiah Lee, Gus Diehl, Stephen Jinneman, and Genty were never subbed off for the Vikings.
“It was rewarding to see the team being selfless and giving everything they had left in the tank for the greater good,” Balog said. “The game awaiting us on Saturday won’t be any easier, but we can build on this performance and take confidence out of it.”
THE BUZZ: Tesch was picked as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…MSUB is now 11-18-2 all-time against WWU and is 5-5-2 at home…the assist was the second of the year for Battistotti and it was the fifth of his career…Thursday was MSUB’s third double-overtime match of the season, with its record being 0-1-2 in extra-time affairs.
NEXT UP: MSUB remains at home for a Saturday tilt against GNAC foe Concordia University. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. in the second game of a women’s-men’s doubleheader.