The Montana soccer team took a season-high 16 shots, 13 in the second half, but the Grizzlies couldn’t solve Fresno State redshirt freshman goalkeeper Alex Best, whose first collegiate shutout helped lead the Bulldogs to a 1-0 victory Sunday afternoon in Fresno, Calif.
Montana (4-3-2) was unable to find the net on its two-match California road trip -- the Grizzlies played to a 0-0 draw at San Jose State on Friday -- and will take a 342-minute goalless streak into Big Sky Conference play, which opens on Friday when league favorite Idaho visits South Campus Stadium.
“We’re second-guessing ourselves a lot right now instead of trusting and believing in ourselves and just playing, and we have to right that as we move forward into conference,” said coach Mark Plakorus.
Fresno State (5-3-0), which won its fifth straight match after opening the season 0-3, scored the game-winner in the 28th minute when Peyton Cline recorded her second goal of the season.
The Bulldogs would outshoot the Grizzlies 6-3 in the first half, putting all six shots on goal. Senior goalkeeper Kailey Norman’s five first-half saves kept it a 1-0 match at the half.
“I thought we came out really sharp, but then the first time they attacked us and got a corner out of it, we became very panicked and played without a lot of composure for the next 20 or 30 minutes. Once again we were very reactive,” said Plakorus.
“At halftime I thought the kids did a good job of getting themselves back together. We played a lot better in the second half and created a lot of opportunities. We just didn’t get on the end of them.”
Montana outshot Fresno State 13-3 in the second half and created five corner kicks, but the Grizzlies were unable to get anything past Best, who was playing in her fourth collegiate match.
Junior Charlene Burger came off the bench to take a team-high four shots for the Grizzlies.
Montana will host Idaho (3-3-2) on Friday at 4 p.m. and Idaho State (3-7-0) at 1 p.m. on Sunday as Big Sky Conference matches begin around the league. The Vandals are the defending regular-season champions and this season’s preseason favorites.