(MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – When the goals come, they come in bunches for Montana State University Billings men’s soccer senior Ricardo Palomino, who was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Week announced by the conference office Monday.
The Puebla, Mexico, native completed his third career hat trick last Thursday, lifting the Yellowjackets to a 4-2 comeback win at Northwest Nazarene University. All three of Palomino’s goals came in the second half, as MSUB erased a 2-0 deficit after 45 minutes and claimed a crucial road win. Though he didn’t find the net on Saturday at Seattle Pacific, he led all players with seven shots including three on target, as he absorbed the Falcons’ defensive presence during a 3-2 victory for the team.
“Ricardo’s start to the season was difficult, but he is finding his form at the right time,” said MSUB head coach Alex Balog. “Both of his performances this past week were very dominant. His technical ability, ability to bring other players around him into the play, and his nose for goals are making a difference for us. I know he is hungry to keep playing well for the team and to finish his career the right way.”
Palomino’s efforts helped lift the ‘Jackets move into second place in the GNAC, and it was the first time since 2009 that the team earned six points on the road in one weekend during conference play.
Palomino’s last hat trick was on October 17, 2015 against Concordia University, and took place in remarkably similar fashion to Thursday’s feat. With MSUB trailing Concordia 2-0 at halftime, Palomino went off for three goals in the second half of a memorable 3-2 triumph.
His other hat trick came on September 13, 2015, when he tied the MSUB record for goals (four) and points (eight) in a match against South Dakota Mines. After the Hardrockers took a 1-0 lead in the third minute, Palomino put together a hat trick before halftime and added a final goal in the 51st minute of the 5-1 win.
Palomino snapped a string of seven straight matches without a goal, as he last found the net with a two-goal performance in a 6-0 win over Colorado Christian on September 8. He has now scored 27 career goals, tying Dave Austin (1997-2001) for second-most in school history.
He also upped his career point total to 60, which is tied with Thomas Pertuit (2001-04) for No. 4 in MSUB history.
Throughout his career, 22 of Palomino’s 27 goals have come during games in which he has scored multiple times. Thursday was his ninth career multi-goal game, after he had six in 2015, one in 2016, and one earlier this year. Palomino’s second goal also counted as the game winner, his eighth such goal in his career.
This is the second GNAC Player of the Week award of Palomino’s career, after he claimed the honor on October 19, 2015 as a sophomore. He is the third Yellowjacket men’s soccer player to earn the award this season, after Guillaume Kremer won it on October 1 and Ludvig Rhodin earned it on September 10.
The Yellowjackets (7-7-2, 4-4-1 GNAC) have two more road games this weekend, playing at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday at 4 p.m. Pacific/5 p.m. Mountain and at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, on Saturday at noon Pacific/1 p.m. Mountain.