(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA — Camellia Xu, who posted shutouts of both Boise State and North Dakota State as the Montana soccer team wrapped up its non-conference schedule, was named the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday by the league office.
The sophomore was honored for the first time this season. She was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week six times last fall on her way to Big Sky Goalkeeper of the Year and first-team all-league honors.
Xu, who made four saves, kept the Broncos out of the net on Thursday on their home field. The 0-0 draw was Montana’s fifth consecutive shutout of Boise State and extended the Grizzlies’ unbeaten streak against the Broncos to nine matches, dating back to 2009.
Boise State had scored 10 goals in three matches before facing Montana, including three in a road win at Oregon. The Broncos, who had only been shut out previously this season by Oregon State, scored four goals on Sunday in a shutout of Eastern Washington.
Xu made three saves on Sunday as Montana blanked North Dakota State 3-0. After she played 90 intense minutes in Thursday’s match, the Grizzlies gave Xu some offensive help against the Bison, scoring in the eighth, 38th and 84th minutes.
The victory was Montana’s first over North Dakota State since 2006. The Grizzlies had scored just one goal against the Bison in the teams’ previous three matchups.
Last week’s shutouts gave Xu six on the season, 17 for her career, a total that already ranks fourth in program history. She lowered her goals-against average this fall to 0.70, which leads the Big Sky Conference.
Xu is tied for third nationally in shutouts, one off the NCAA lead of Mississippi State’s Maddy Anderson and North Alabama’s Payton Yates.
After allowing six goals through the season’s first four matches – two each to Pittsburgh, Wyoming and Portland – Montana has allowed just one over its last six matches, Fresno State’s in the 90th minute that allowed the Bulldogs to escape Missoula with a 1-1 draw.
Montana, which has the Big Sky’s top RPI of 120, is 3-0-3 over its last six matches and will take that six-match unbeaten streak into the start of its Big Sky Conference schedule, which opens this week with matches at Sacramento State and Portland State.