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MSU Billings men on the road, women to host Senior Day

Posted at 5:36 PM, Oct 24, 2018

(MSUB Athletics release)

BILLINGS – Looking to build off momentum from a pair of road victories last week, the Montana State University Billings men’s soccer team will look to repeat the feat with two more Great Northwest Athletic Conference matches away from home.

Entering the week in second place in the GNAC standings at 7-7-2 overall and 4-4-1 in league play, MSUB takes on Concordia University on Thursday in Portland, Oregon, at 4 p.m. Pacific/5 p.m. Mountain, before facing Saint Martin’s University on Saturday in Lacey, Washington, at noon Pacific/1 p.m. Mountain. Both matches will feature live video and live statistics available online through MSUB’s Stretch Internet portal here.

“It’ll be a very even matchup against Concordia on Thursday, as they come off two victories just like us,” said MSUB head coach Alex Balog. “I respect their program a lot, especially the way they are coached: Always competitive, never giving up, and constantly working and grinding. Having said that, we need to focus on ourselves and make sure our strengths come out. The game against Saint Martin’s is always an interesting one. It is the only grass pitch left in our conference, which gives them an advantage especially when wet. On top of that, they have a couple of quality players. We are going there to win, but first thing’s first and that’s our game against Concordia Thursday.”

For the first time in a decade, MSUB claimed six points in one GNAC weekend, as it defeated Northwest Nazarene University 4-2 in comeback fashion last Thursday and Seattle Pacific 3-2 last Saturday. This week marks the final road trip of the season, and the ‘Jackets will close the regular season next Saturday at home against No. 1 Simon Fraser University.

“We have confidence, which is warranted after last week’s performances,” Balog said. “However, two GNAC wins on the road in themselves don’t get us anywhere. We have to confirm our good form by getting after it from the start on Thursday, and see if we can put Concordia on their heels.”

ANOTHER HEROIC SHOWING FROM RICKY: Completing his third career hat trick in the win at Northwest Nazarene earned senior striker Ricardo Palomino his second career GNAC Player of the Week award. He is up to 27 career goals which is tied for second in MSUB history, and he has 60 points which ranks tied for fourth in school history. He needs one more goal and five more points to assume second place in both categories, behind only MSUB Hall of Famer Sam Charles with 69 goals and 156 points from 2006-09.

Palomino is also ascending the GNAC record books, as he is now tied for No. 21 in conference history in points and is No. 13 in career goals.

Palomino has also been nominated for the HERO Sports D2 Men’s Soccer HERO of the Week, and fans can vote online here until the poll closes on Friday at 1 p.m. Mountain time.

PASCAL PUTS ON A SHOW: Freshman Pascal Pisarek had a major breakout performance over the weekend as well, as he matched Palomino’s total with three goals of his own. Being shifted up the field and playing on the wing, Pisarek cashed in on chances with the first goal against NNU and two more against SPU. He now ranks fourth on the team with three goals and six points, and his final strike against the Falcons counted as the game-winner. He has started 10 matches this year playing primarily as a defender, and has scored on all three of his shots that have landed on frame.

FOLLA FINDS THE NET: Another primary defender contributed on the offensive end last week, as junior center back Samuele Folla logged his first goal of the season. Folla got the scoring started against the Falcons, before Pisarek added the finishing touches. Ranking second on the team among field players with 1,381 minutes played, Folla has started 15 matches and has not been subbed off over the last 12 games.

TESCH, HEPBURN LEAD ASSISTORS: In a weekend where six different players had an assist, freshman Brady Tesch and senior Adam Hepburn led the way with two apiece. Tesch had an assist in each game, giving a pass to Palomino on Thursday before feeding Pisarek in his game-winner on Saturday. For Hepburn, Saturday marked the first career multi-assist game, as he had a hand in the goal by Folla as well as Pisarek’s first finish.

In total, nine different players were involved with either a goal or an assist among the seven scores the ‘Jackets tallied in the last two matches.

COMFORTABLE ON THE ROAD: MSUB has kept its season alive with stellar road play, as it is one of just three teams in the GNAC to play at .500 or better away from home. Aside from No. 1 SFU, which is 9-0 on the road and 14-0 overall, only Western Washington with a road record of 4-4-1 has matched MSUB’s mark of 4-4 in away games. The other four GNAC teams are a combined 10-19-1 in road games.

Concordia University Cavaliers
Thursday, October 25 – 4 PM Pacific – Portland, Oregon
2018 Record: 5-8-1, 3-6 GNAC
Head Coach: Dan Birkey, 31st season
2017 Record: 5-10-2, 4-7-1 GNAC (6th place)
First Meeting: MSUB 2, CU 0 (October 6 at Billings, MT)

The Cavaliers broke out of a lengthy six-game losing streak last week, as they, like MSUB, posted impressive road results. CU topped Seattle Pacific 1-0 in Seattle before beating Northwest Nazarene 3-2 in overtime in Nampa. Concordia’s lone game this week is against MSUB, before it closes the 2018 season at home against NNU on November 1 and Western Washington on November 3.

Kieran McMinn scored the game-winner against the Nighthawks in the 94th minute, as he netted his team-leading fifth goal of the year. Nicholas Denley has been the other top scorer for CU, with four goals and two assists for 10 points in 14 matches. Overall CU is averaging 1.00 goals per game with 14 on the year, but has conceded 22 to its opponents.

While Denley is the lone field player to have started all 14 games, Brandon McCurtain and Santeri Ihamuotila have posted 13 starts apiece as other crucial players in CU’s lineup.

Grant Alcorn is the only goalkeeper CU has played this season, as he has made a GNAC-leading 76 saves and 5.43 per game in his 14 matches between the posts.

The Series: MSUB is 4-1-2 all-time against CU, but is yet to win a match in Portland at 0-1-2 in away games.

Last Time Out: Senior Dana Kowachek scored both goals for MSUB in the home win, and the ‘Jackets stayed perfect at 4-0 all-time against the Cavaliers. CU won a 3-2 shootout the last time the teams played in Portland, on October 19, 2017.

Saint Martin’s University Saints
Saturday, October 27 – 12 PM Pacific – Lacey, Washington
2018 Record: 6-9, 4-5 GNAC
Head Coach: Rob Walker, 12th season
2017 Record: 2-14-1, 2-9-1 GNAC (7th place)
First Meeting: SMU 3, MSUB 2 (October 11 at Billings, MT)

After being named GNAC Team of the Week last Monday, SMU suffered a pair of road defeats last week. The Saints lost to Western Washington 2-0 last Thursday before a 3-0 loss against Simon Fraser last Saturday. Like Concordia, the game against MSUB will be the only one this week for SMU, which has Thursday off.

Despite no goals by the team last week, Brandon Madsen continues to lead the squad with seven on the year and three assists for 17 total points. Sebastian Navarro has scored five times and Cayman John four, and those two are tied for the team lead with four assists apiece.

Six different Saints have started all 15 matches, including the defensive tandem of Collin LaBranche and Nick Phillips who have each played upwards of 1,300 minutes on the season.

Griffin Small has been the primary goalkeeper for the Saints, with a goals-against average of 1.59 in 14 matches. He has logged two shutouts, and ranks third in the GNAC with 63 saves on the year.

The Series: MSUB is 13-8-2 all-time against SMU and is 5-5-1 in games played in Lacey. The Saints have won the last two games and the series is even at 3-3-1 over the last seven dating back to the 2015 campaign.

Last Time Out: The ‘Jackets led 2-1 with as little as six minutes left on the clock, but SMU stunned MSUB with two goals in the final minutes. John scored his second of the day to equalize the score at 2-2, before Navarro bent home a game-winning free kick in the 87th minute.

MSUB’s women play their final two matches of the year at Yellowjacket Field.

The Yellowjackets (4-10-1, 1-9) will host Simon Fraser University at 1 p.m. on Thursday and No. 15 Western Washington University at 1 p.m. on Saturday in a pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference affairs. The Vikings are tied for first place in the GNAC standings at 13-2-1 overall and 8-1-1 in league play, while the Clan are in third place at 9-4-1 overall and 7-2-1 in league play. Both matches will feature live video and live statistics, available online through MSUB’s Stretch Internet portal here.

“It is nice to be home for the final week of the season, and there is still a lot of progress that can be made in these final two matches,” commented MSUB head coach Stephen Cavallo. “We know we are up against some elite competition. We are turning towards our players to push and finish the season giving everything these last two matches, and to honor the seniors that they get to play alongside. It has not been an easy season for us, but we have been resilient and Jordan and Lili have led by example on that. I know our team will finish out strong and give everything to these final two matches.”

MSUB lost 1-0 at Central Washington last Thursday before a 4-0 defeat at Seattle Pacific last Saturday. The Yellowjackets have lost six straight matches and have managed just one goal scored in that time span. This weekend will mark the second game of the year against both WWU and SFU, as the ‘Jackets lost 2-0 in Bellingham, Washington, on October 11, and 3-0 in Burnaby, British Columbia, on October 13.

SENIOR SALUTE: Prior to the final match of the year on Saturday, MSUB will honor its two graduating seniors in forward Jordan Devoto and goalkeeper Lili Delgadillo.

Entering the week having started the last 41 matches, Devoto has played in 52 total and started 45 since her freshman year in 2015. She has totaled six goals and added a pair of assists, for a total of 14 career points. She is a two-year captain and has seen the pitch for 3,061 total minutes in her career.

FEATURE: THE INSPIRATIONAL PROGRESSION OF JORDAN DEVOTO

Delgadillo has played 30 games between the posts, and will start the final two matches of the season this weekend. Entering the week, Delgadillo ranks No. 5 in MSUB history with 136 career saves, and has totaled three shutouts. She has a career save percentage of .743 and a career goals-against average of 1.64.

SANDOW’S STREAK REACHES SEVEN: Junior center back Kalin Sandow extended her streak of full-match performances to seven last week, as she has not been subbed off over the last 630 minutes of play. Overall on the year she has played the full time in nine matches, and leads the team with 1,309 minutes played.

TWO OF THE GNAC’S BEST COME TO BILLINGS: MSUB will face two of the greatest goal scorers in GNAC history this weekend, in Western Washington’s Gabriela Pelogi and Simon Fraser’s Emma Pringle. Pelogi enters the week No. 6 in GNAC history with 43 career goals, and is tied for fourth with 105 career points. She is six goals away from tying the GNAC record of 49, held by Sarah Martinez of Seattle Pacific University (2004-07). The 2016 GNAC Championships MVP also needs 17 points to tie Martinez’ GNAC record of 122 points. Pringle, the 2016 GNAC Freshman of the Year, ranks No. 11 in league history with 34 goals towards the end of her third collegiate season. She needs five more goals to break into the top-10. Pringle is also tied for No. 20 with 74 career points, and is on pace to have a run at the all-time record as her mark of 1.61 points per game is No. 2 in GNAC history behind only Jill Webb of Saint Martin’s (1.80, 2008-10).

Simon Fraser University Clan
Thursday, October 25 – 1 PM – Yellowjacket Field
2018 Record: 9-4-1, 7-2-1 GNAC
Head Coach: Annie Hamel, 5th season
2017 Record: 7-9, 5-7 GNAC (5th place)
First Meeting: SFU 3, MSUB 0 (October 13 at Burnaby, BC)

Still in the running for a first-ever GNAC title, Simon Fraser enters the week three points back of both Western Washington and Concordia in the league standings. The Clan would need at least four points as well as help from the conference frontrunners to have a shot at the conference crown, but at the very least they have wrapped up a berth into the GNAC Championships for the second time in the last three seasons.

SFU beat Saint Martin’s University 3-0 at home last Tuesday, before a 3-2 overtime loss at the hands of Seattle Pacific on Thursday. The Clan close the regular season on Saturday with a road game at Northwest Nazarene University.

The Clan’s lineup features both the league’s leading scorer in Pringle with 11 goals this season, and the league’s leader in points with Jenna-lee Baxter who has scored eight times and has a conference-best nine assists for 25 points. Katelyn Erhardsen is tied with Baxter at nine assists, and has also scored three goals, while Christina Dickson has found the net four times.

The power-packed offense is No. 1 in the conference in both points (7.71 per game) and goals (36/2.57 per game).

Carli Grosso and Emma Lobo have started all 14 games defensively for SFU, and goalkeeper Nicole Anderson owns a 0.82 goals-against average with four shutouts in 11 starts.

The Series: MSUB holds a 12-5 upper hand in the all-time series, and is 6-1 against the Clan in home matches including six straight wins in Billings dating back to the 2011 season.

Last Time Out: SFU’s Samantha Donald netted a goal with four second on the clock before halftime to give her team a 1-0 lead, and Carmen Brown and Baxter each scored late in the second half in the 3-0 loss for MSUB.

No. 15 Western Washington University Vikings
Saturday, October 27 – 1 PM – Yellowjacket Field
2018 Record: 13-2-1, 8-1-1 GNAC
Head Coach: Travis Connell, 16th season
2017 Record: 18-2, 11-1 GNAC (2nd, NCAA D2 West Region Runners-Up)
First Meeting: No. 18 WWU 2, MSUB 0 (October 11 at Bellingham, WA)

Entering the week unbeaten in its last 10 matches, the Vikings moved up three spots in the United Soccer Coaches’ top-25 rankings from No. 18 last week to No. 15 this week. The key to that leap was a 2-1 home win over No. 6 Concordia last week, keeping WWU in contention to reclaim the GNAC title after the Cavaliers won it a year ago.

The Vikings have won four straight games, and play at Northwest Nazarene University on Thursday before Saturday’s game in Billings.

Pelogi and likely GNAC Freshman of the Year Dayana Diaz are tied for the team lead with 15 points apiece, as each player has scored seven goals and added one assist. Pelogi needs three more goals to reach double figures for the fourth consecutive season. Zoe Milburn and Grace Eversaul have each also scored four goals apiece, and Peyton Chick leads the squad with six assists on the year.

WWU trails only SFU and Seattle Pacific in total goals scored, as they have netted 33 and average 2.06 per game. The Vikings also have the top goals-against average in the league at 0.43, and their margin of plus-26 is the best in the conference as well.

Defender Annaliese Laurila and midfielders Liv Larson and Mariah Roggow are the three players to have started all 16 matches for WWU, while Taylor Hallquist and Jordyn Bartelson have been key contributors as well.

Natalie Dierickx has started all 16 games in goal, and her goals-against average of 0.452 ranks her No. 14 in the NCAA.

The Series: WWU is 21-3-2 all-time against MSUB and is 8-2 against the ‘Jackets in Billings. The Vikings have won the last 13 games between the teams dating back to the 2012 season.

Last Time Out: Talia Daigle scored in the ninth minute and Milburn added an insurance goal in the 88th as then-No. 18 WWU shut out the ‘Jackets 2-0 in Bellingham two weeks ago.