(Editor's note: Montana athletics press release)
GREELEY, Colo. — An Idaho goal with just seconds remaining in the first overtime period was the only scoring as the No. 2 Vandals defeated No. 6 Montana 1-0 in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Championship on Friday at Jackson Stadium in Greeley, Colo.
Margo Schoesler took possession of a wayward free kick by Montana’s back line, dribbled 20 yards up the field and chipped the game-winning goal over Griz goalkeeper Camellia Xu to send Idaho to Sunday’s championship match.
It was Schoesler’s third goal of the season, two of which have been game-winners against Montana. She converted a late penalty kick when the Vandals defeated the Grizzlies 1-0 in Missoula in September.
The loss ends Montana’s season at 7-7-6.
“The effort was great. Kind of an uncharacteristic giveaway out of the back and they took their moment and scored,” said Griz coach Chris Citowicki, whose team lost for only the second time in five trips to the Big Sky tournament.
While Montana wasn’t the better team, the Grizzlies did create the better chances, none of which produced a goal the No. 6 seed was looking for.
Montana outshot Idaho 15-9, generated a season-high 12 corner kicks to Idaho’s one and maintained 56 percent of the possession.
The Grizzlies were particularly dangerous in the second half, when they created eight corner kicks. Their best chance at scoring came in the 78th minute when a free kick by Allie Larsen just outside the 18 was headed inches over the crossbar by Maysa Walters.
“Our second half was very good,” said Citowicki. “We created a lot of opportunities, just couldn’t get one in the back of the net.
“If you’re going to go out, go out swinging, and I thought we did swing a lot. We tried to create a lot of opportunities and just didn’t get it done at the end of the day.”
Schoesler’s goal came at 99:45. Montana got off just one shot in the second 10-minute overtime as the Vandals took their lead and bled the clock.
Montana loses just two players to graduation, McKenzie Kilpatrick, who started 14 matches this season at outside back, and Jaden Griggs, who was limited to five matches and 189 minutes because of an injury.
“Sad to lose two seniors, but we’re only losing two and adding a lot, so we’re going to rebuild and just keep trying to get better and keep going,” said Citowicki.