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Western Washington hands MSU Billings 3-1 loss

Posted at 2:24 PM, Oct 26, 2018

(MSUB Athletics release)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Last week’s success on the road did not continue on Thursday at Tuominen Yard, as the Montana State University Billings men’s soccer team lost 3-1 at the hands of Great Northwest Athletic Conference foe Concordia University.

Coming off back-to-back road wins last week, the Yellowjackets conceded a pair of goals late in the second half in the defeat. MSUB fell to 7-8-2 overall and 4-5-1 in conference play with the loss. “I am bitterly disappointed, as we knew this game was a trap game and we fell into it nonetheless,” said MSUB head coach Alex Balog. “Big individual mistakes cost us, offensively and defensively. Concordia played the way we expected them to play, but details turned into key moments and it went their way. They were better than us and their victory is deserved.”

Senior Dana Kowachek netted his team-leading seventh goal of the season, but it was the lone finish for the ‘Jacket offense which was held to a single goal for the first time in five matches.

Alec Dunkeld scored just eight minutes into the match to give CU the lead, and the Cavaliers struck for goals in the 76th and 78th minutes by Brendan Laun and Nicholas Denley to seal the win. CU won its third straight match, improving to 6-8-1 overall and 4-6 in conference play.

MSUB earned a pair of corner kicks in the opening 10 minutes, putting the pressure on offensively from the start of the match. Shortly thereafter however, CU struck first as Reggie Reyes drilled an on-target attempt that was saved by MSUB keeper Ludvig Rhodin. Dunkeld was there to collect the carom and finish the ball into the back of the net, making the score 1-0.

Midway through the first the ‘Jackets pulled even, when Kowachek found the goal. After a pass by Guillaume Marneau at the top of the box, Kowachek took a touch and ripped a left-footed strike into the lower-right corner of the net. Cavalier goalkeeper Grant Alcorn got a hand to it and nearly came up with the save, but the strike carried just enough momentum to sneak into the net.

The ‘Jackets held a narrow 10-8 edge in shots over the opening 45 minutes, and Rhodin and Alcorn had two saves apiece as the teams entered the break at 1-1.

Concordia held the offensive momentum early on in the second half, peppering the goal with four shots in the span of three minutes thanks in large part to a pair of corner kicks.

Alcorn came through with one of his four saves in the 61st minute, as he denied Guillaume Kremer in an on-target attempt.

A through ball from Denley as time wound down in the second ended up in the goal box, and Laun out ran the defense to beat Rhodin in a breakaway attempt. Some clean combination play by the ‘Cavs led to the important third goal, as Laun returned the favor by slotting a pass into the box for Denley. He hammered home his fifth goal of the year with a powerful strike into the upper corner of the net.

Alcorn had one more save in the 80th minute on a close-range shot by Ricardo Palomino, but it was the Yellowjackets’ final attempt on frame in the match.

Rhodin made five saves for the ‘Jackets, while Kremer and Palomino tied for the team lead with five shots apiece.

Denley matched MSUB’s duo with five shots of his own, and led all players with three of them landing on target. The Cavaliers won five corner kicks – four in the second half – while MSUB didn’t manage any after its pair early on in the match.

THE BUZZ: Kremer was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…MSUB is now 4-2-2 all-time against CU and is 0-2-2 in away matches…the teams split the season series after MSUB won 2-0 in Billings on October 6…the assist was the third of the year for Marneau…Palomino was issued a red card in the 81st minute and will miss Saturday’s match with a one-game suspension.

NEXT UP: MSUB plays at Saint Martin’s University on Saturday at noon Pacific/1 p.m. Mountain time. It is the final road match of the year, and live video and live statistics will be available online