MISSOULA — In front of a record-setting crowd on Sunday night, the Montana Grizzlies women's soccer program put on a show as they welcomed Ohio State to Missoula in a big non-conference matchup.
The teams finished the game in a 2-2 draw at South Campus Stadium in a contest that felt like a win for the Griz thanks to their play on the field as well as the crowd of 1,973 fans in attendance easily topping the previous attendance record of 1,093 which was set in 1999.
"It's almost emotional, right?" Griz head soccer coach Chris Citowicki said. "To get this many people here, to see this kind of support and feel the energy, it was beautiful.
"I feel like we played really well. Created enough opportunities to potentially win it and that's something that we talked about before the game is we're going to attack and it's going to be a game that's going to be high scoring and then we're going to see who wins it."
The Grizzlies got on the board first after Skyleigh Thompson put the ball into Ohio State's box and a hand ball was called on OSU. That set up UM for a free kick, and they sent senior Maysa Walters up, and she delivered to make it 1-0 UM in the ninth minute.
OSU found a response in the 25th minute as Dakota Lyons scored, followed by another goal in the 30th from Amanda Schlueter off an assist by Berkley Mape to make it 2-1. That score held heading into halftime.
In the 59th minute, the Griz found gold again as Walters used a corner kick to send a pass into the box that found the head of Delaney Lou Schorr who sent the ball into the back of the net to tie the game.
The momentum was with UM throughout the rest of the contest as the Grizzlies dominated the second half, but were unable to get the go-ahead score. UM finished shooting 14 shots to OSU's seven. Both teams had five shots on goal.
"The best atmosphere I've ever played in," Walters said. "At my previous school (New Mexico), we had close to 2,000 but it was not anywhere like this. The fans are so close, it's so personal. I felt like I'd look up and I'd know so and so. People I saw at the farmer's market on Saturday, I was like hey come to our game, I saw them. So that just goes to show what the community support is here in Missoula."
UM keeper Ashlyn Dvorak finished with three saves in the game while OSU's Molly Pritchard had two for the Buckeyes (1-2-1).
"It was like no other, I've never had an experience like this before," Schorr said. "We're playing against Power 5. We're competing with them and we're making chances, like, we could've scored multiple times. It's not like it was just luck, like we played up to their level and that shows that we have the heart to play any team."
While not a win or loss, the Grizzlies remain unbeaten and are off to a strong start in 2023 at 3-0-1. UM topped North Dakota and North Dakota State to start the season and also defeated Montana State Billings this past Thursday.
UM will next play in Spokane, Washington this coming week when they take on Utah Tech on Thursday and Oklahoma on Sunday.