BILLINGS, Mont. – Further strengthening her case for Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Jenna-lee Baxter scored a hat trick and added an assist at Yellowjacket Field on Thursday to lift visiting Simon Fraser University to a 5-0 shutout win over the Montana State University Billings women’s soccer team.
It was the third hat trick in the GNAC this season, and with the addition of the assist she achieved the highest point total in the league by a player this year with seven. After entering the day leading the conference in total points, she upped her mark to 32 on the season.
Katelyn Erhardsen had a goal and an assist, and Carmen Brown added her second score of the season in the one-sided affair. The Clan improved to 10-4-1 with the win, and moved into a three-way tie for first in the GNAC at 8-2-1. Conference-leading Concordia University and Western Washington University, who each also have 25 points, are yet to play as of the end of Thursday’s match.
The Yellowjackets were held scoreless for the fifth straight match, and their losing skid extended to seven games overall. MSUB is 4-11-1 on the season and is 1-10 in conference play. MSUB managed to place five of its nine shots on the match on target – four of which came in the first half with a 21 mile-per-hour wind at its back. But SFU goalkeeper Nicole Anderson made all five saves required of her to earn her fourth shutout of the year.
“Despite the result, today was another game where players really stepped up,” said MSUB head coach Stephen Cavallo. “In particular Josie (Corbin), Lindsey (Meyer), and Lexie (Bloyder) contributed strong minutes to the team today. I am proud of them for sticking with it, and the team is really relying on them right now and they stepped up for us. We are banged up right now, but we are trying to continue to fight. Credit to Simon Fraser, who has some of the best players in the region.”
Baxter got her team on the board in the 12th minute, as she streaked past her defender in the box and punched home a finish off a cross from the right corner. The ball was played in by Emma Pringle, who is tied with Baxter for the GNAC lead at 11 goals and was the last GNAC player to score a hat trick when she did it on October 16 against Saint Martin’s.
It took a stellar leaping save by Anderson midway through the first to knock away a high shot attempt by MSUB’s Cassidy O’Dell, as she had her team’s best scoring chance to that point in the game.
Just as they did in their 3-0 home win over MSUB two weeks ago, SFU netted a goal within the final minute of the opening half. This time it was Erhardsen playing a cross from the right side, before Baxter beat MSUB goalkeeper Lili Delgadillo with a one-time finish. The goal gave Baxter her second multi-goal performance of the season, as she had two finishes against Northwest Nazarene on October 11.
SFU struck immediately after the halftime break, with goals in the 46th and 47th minutes to put the game out of reach. Baxter tallied her GNAC-leading 10th assist of the season just 26 seconds after the whistle, as she played a long cross from the left corner to a wide-open Erhardsen in the box. From there, a strong finish into the far post made the score 3-0 in favor of SFU.
Baxter completed the hat trick just over a minute later, as Pringle again set her up for a one-time finish with a cross from the right side into the box.
Less than 30 seconds after subbing into the game, Brown finished the scoring as she went on a long run down the left side of the field. Outside back Kayla Goncalves delivered a lengthy pass all the way into the box, and Brown finished her chance past a charging Delgadillo.
MSUB’s goalkeeper had five saves on the day, while facing 26 shots including 10 on target from the SFU offense. Freshman Josie Corbin made her first career start and played a season-high 65 minutes, and freshman Lexie Bloyder also reached season-highs with 49 minutes and two shots on goal. Haylee Gunter was another key contributor for MSUB, reaching her second-highest minute total of the year with 74 while making her 10th start.
THE BUZZ: Bloyder was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…MSUB is now 12-6 all-time against SFU and is 6-2 in home matches against the Clan…SFU won the season series 2-0 over MSUB…Baxter also has the second-highest single-game point total in the GNAC this year, as she had six against NNU…Thursday was MSUB’s most lopsided loss of the season and marked the most goals allowed in a match this fall.
NEXT UP: The 2018 season comes to a close on Saturday, with MSUB’s Senior Day game against No. 15 Western Washington University. Kickoff against the Vikings is set for 1 p.m. and seniors Delgadillo and Jordan Devoto will be honored in a pregame ceremony. Live video and live statistics will be available online.