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Montana soccer set for 1st Big Sky home matches

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Posted at 4:52 PM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 22:20:43-04

(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)

MISSOULA - The Montana soccer team, holder of the Big Sky Conference’s top RPI, will play its first home league matches of the season this weekend at South Campus Stadium.

The Grizzlies will host standings-leader Weber State on Friday at 3 p.m., Idaho State at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

For starters (Montana): The Grizzlies (2-5-3, 1-0-0 BSC) got their Big Sky schedule off to both a successful and shortened start over the weekend. Montana picked up a 1-0 victory at Idaho on Friday night inside the Kibbie Dome on freshman Quinn Peacock’s first collegiate goal. Sunday’s scheduled match at Eastern Washington was snowed out. It will be made up on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Cheney.

For starters (Weber State): The Wildcats (2-7-1, 1-0-1 BSC) entered league with a record of 1-7-0 but that hardly mattered last weekend. They played red-hot Sacramento State to a 1-1 draw on Friday, then followed that up with a 1-0 victory over Portland State on Sunday to grab the top spot in the standings, with four points, after the opening weekend of play.

For starters (Idaho State): The Bengals (1-9-2, 0-1-1 BSC), opening league at home, spent the weekend playing on the edge. They fell 3-2 in overtime to Portland State on Friday as the Vikings rallied from a 2-1 halftime deficit. Idaho State then played to a 2-2 draw on Sunday against Sacramento State in a match that had 41 shots and five yellow cards.

Montana notes:

* The Grizzlies enter the weekend with the Big Sky’s top RPI of 156. Only three other league teams are in the top 200: Sacramento State (174), Weber State (183) and Eastern Washington (191).

* Montana is unbeaten in its last eight matches against opponents from the Big Sky. That streak, dating back to Oct. 12 last fall, includes six wins and a pair of draws.

* The Grizzlies have played just two of their first 10 matches this season at home.

* Montana is unbeaten in its last six home matches dating back to last season (one win, five draws). The last team to defeat the Grizzlies at South Campus Stadium was Northern Colorado, 2-1 in double overtime last season on Sept. 23.

* This is the first season since 2009 that Montana goes into October with only two home matches played. The Grizzlies played the first half against UC Santa Barbara at South Campus Stadium on Sept. 6, but that match was called at halftime due to lightning and later darkness.

* Freshman Quinn Peacock scored her first collegiate goal in her second start as a Grizzly on Friday night, tapping in Taylor Stoeger’s cross in the 13th minute at Idaho.

* Stoeger now has two of Montana’s three assists this season. She also assisted on Alexa Coyle’s game-tying goal at North Dakota State back on Aug. 25.

* Outside of Montana’s 6-0 loss at Washington State, the Grizzlies’ other nine matches this fall have been 0-0, 1-1 or 1-0 results.

* Junior goalkeeper Claire Howard made five saves on Friday night for her third shutout of the season, the 20th of her career. The program record is 24, set by Kailey Norman (2013-16).

* Alexa Coyle’s goal at North Dakota State was the 11th of her career. Montana’s other goals this season have been first-timers: McKenzie Kilpatrick against Cal Poly, Kendall Furrow against Wyoming and Peacock against Idaho.

* Howard, Coyle, Taylor Hansen, Avery Adams and Allie Larsen are the only players who have started all 10 matches this fall.

* Only Coyle (23) and Stoeger (10) have taken 10 or more shots through the team’s first 10 matches.

* It’s now been more than a month, Sept. 1 at Gonzaga, that Montana has allowed a goal in the run of play. California and Wyoming scored their goals on penalty kicks, San Francisco and Saint Mary’s directly off corner kicks.

Weber State notes:

* The Wildcats went 9-5-4 last season and won the Big Sky regular-season title with a 7-1-1 record. Weber State hosted the league tournament and lost to No. 5 Montana in the semifinals, 2-0.

* Longtime coach Tim Crompton, who led the WSU soccer team for 15 successful seasons, was named interim AD at Weber State in May. Meagan Thunell, Crompton’s assistant for 14 years, is serving as interim head coach this season.

* Weber State, with three of 10 first-place votes, was picked second in the preseason coaches’ poll, behind Northern Colorado and ahead of third-place Montana.

* Montana (87-53-25) and Weber State (86-61-18) rank first and second in league history in regular-season Big Sky wins. The Grizzlies have won five Big Sky tournament titles, the Wildcats four.

* Weber State’s one nonconference win was a 1-0 victory at Nevada. ... In their one common opponent, the Wildcats lost 5-0 at California, the Grizzlies lost 1-0 at Cal.

* Weber State was shut out in six of its eight nonconference matches and entered league with just two goals scored.

* Senior goalkeeper Nikki Pittman was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday. She made eight saves against Sacramento State and Portland State.

* Like Montana (four goals scored by four players), Weber State enters Friday’s match with four goals scored this season. No Wildcat has more than one.

Montana-Weber State history:

* Montana holds a slight 15-13-3 advantage against Weber State in a series that dates back to 1996. The teams will be playing a head-to-head match for the 24th consecutive season on Friday.

* The Grizzlies are 10-3-1 against the Wildcats in Missoula, with three straight wins. WSU’s last win at South Campus Stadium was a 4-0 victory in 2010.

* Montana lost 2-1 at Ogden during the teams’ regular-season meeting last season. The Grizzlies used first-half goals from Alexa Coyle and Janessa Fowler to win 2-0 in Ogden in the semifinals of the Big Sky tournament in November.

Idaho State notes:

* The Bengals went 2-14-0 in 2018 and finished last in the Big Sky at 1-8-0. It was the final season for coach Allison Gibson, who won three Big Sky Coach of the Year awards after being hired in 2006.

* Debs Brereton was named the fourth coach in program history in December. She previously served as the associate head coach at Ohio University.

* Idaho State was picked 10th out of 10 teams in the preseason coaches’ poll.

* The Bengals, who play at Northern Colorado on Friday night, have one win this season, an overtime victory at home over Saint Mary’s, the same team that defeated Montana 1-0.

* Idaho State, at 300, has the lowest RPI of any team in the Big Sky Conference.

* Against common opponents with Montana, Idaho State lost 4-1 at Wyoming, 3-1 to Cal Poly in Missoula and 4-0 at Gonzaga. The Grizzlies tied Wyoming 1-1, defeated Cal Poly 1-0 and lost 1-0 at
Gonzaga.

* ISU has been outshot this season 225-126 and has allowed 28 goals in 12 matches. The Bengals’ have yet to shut out an opponent this fall.

* Senior Jazmin Lopez leads ISU with three goals and seven points. She has three goals on just seven shots.

Montana-Idaho State history:

* Montana leads the all-time series with Idaho State 13-8-4. The teams have played every season since 1998.

* The Grizzlies are 9-2-1 against the Bengals in Missoula. ISU won at South Campus Stadium in 2006, 1-0, then again in 2014, 2-1 in the semifinals of the Big Sky tournament against the host and top seed that had gone 8-0-2 through its league schedule. That still stings.

* Montana won the teams’ matchup last season in Pocatello 1-0, on a goal by Alexa Coyle in the 81st minute.

Grizzlies in-depth:

* Montana opened its league schedule with a 1-0 victory over Idaho on Friday night inside the Kibbie Dome.

Quinn Peacock scored in the 13th minute, and Claire Howard made sure it held up with five saves for her 20th career shutout.

“I think it goes back to what we build off all year, how our entire team is bought into every practice. We’re out there working hard and trusting the process,” said junior forward Alexa Coyle.

“We keep building every practice, every week. We’re really confident in what we’re doing, and everyone is bought in. We were excited for the atmosphere and excitement the dome brought, and we got the result.”

* The Grizzlies opened their league schedule with a win for just the second time in the last five seasons on Friday night in Moscow.

Of the eight league matches that were played last week, only Portland State (at Idaho State) and Montana picked up road wins.

“When conference starts, it’s the real deal. We had that feeling (last) weekend, where everyone was just competing with a little more edge,” added Coyle.

“Conference is exciting because it’s that much more important and every game matters. It’s great we picked up where we left off.”

* Quinn Peacock was easy for most schools to overlook. She stands 5-foot-2 and didn’t get a lot of exposure playing for Sentinel High in the fall and the Missoula Strikers the rest of the year.

But she played a big role on Friday.

When Taylor Stoeger raced with the ball up the right side of the field early in the match at Idaho, Peacock waited. And waited. Then finally broke toward the goal.

Her timing was perfect.

She had defenders on her right and left, but her foot was the first to get to the ball. She redirected Stoeger’s cross inside the right post to give Montana a 1-0 lead that would stand up.

“She’s got that classic blue-collar work ethic. She shows up every day and works hard,” said Montana coach Chris Citowicki. “The Quinn I’m seeing in practice lately is the Quinn I saw when we were recruiting her.

“Every freshman goes through ups and downs, where they overanalyze and overthink everything. Quinn’s run (against Idaho) was not overthought. It was, go into the space you’ve been coached to go to and be there at the right time. She’s only going to keep getting better and better.”

Around the Big Sky Conference:

* Six (of 10) teams came out of opening weekend without a loss. Weber State went 1-0-1 for a league-leading four points. Montana and Northern Arizona are both 1-0-0 after playing just one match.

Sacramento State and Northern Colorado both went on the road and picked up two draws to start 0-0-2. Eastern Washington played just once and is 0-0-1 after tying Northern Colorado in Cheney.

* By playing to draws at Weber State and Idaho State last week, Sacramento State (6-1-4) extended its unbeaten streak to 10 matches. The Hornets opened their season with a 3-1 loss at UC Davis. They’ve gone 6-0-4 since.

* By losing 3-2 at Northern Arizona on Sunday, Southern Utah fell to 0-9-0. The Thunderbirds are averaging fewer than five shots per match and have been outscored this season 26-3.

* Friday’s schedule: WSU at UM, ISU at UNC, SUU at PSU, NAU at SAC

* Sunday’s schedule: ISU at UM, WSU at UNC, NAU at PSU, SUU at SAC, UI at EWU

Upcoming: Montana will return to the road next week for matches at Northern Arizona and Southern Utah.