Texas Tech’s Jessica Fuston collected her third career hat trick to lead the Red Raiders to a 4-0 victory over Montana Sunday morning on the final day of the TCU Invitational at Fort Worth, Texas.
Texas Tech (4-0-0) stayed unbeaten on the season and has allowed just a single goal through its first four matches. Montana (1-3-0) dropped its third consecutive match, all by shutout.
Texas Tech immediately went on the offensive once referee Kathryn Heidke blew her whistle to start the match. The Red Raiders peppered Griz senior keeper Kristen Hoon with seven shots, five on goal, in the opening 21 minutes.
Fuston scored the match’s first goal in the 24th minute, then added a second less than three minutes later. Tech would outshoot Montana 14-3 in the opening half. Eight of its 14 shots were on goal.
“They came out and went at us as hard as I thought they would,” UM coach Mark Plakorus said. “We dealt with them early on, but halfway through we started getting too spread out, and we panicked.
“We started knocking the ball around without purpose, and that allowed them to get on a roll and start flying at us.”
Texas Tech held a 2-0 lead at the break.
The score did not reflect it, but Montana played mostly even with Tech in the second half and could have evened the score early in the second half, according to Plakorus.
“We came out well in the second half after some (halftime) adjustments,” he said. “We were much more composed, and we just dealt with things better and created a number of scoring opportunities.”
With Montana pressing to trim its deficit to one, Fuston struck at the other end in the 61st minute with her third goal to make it 3-0. She took a cross from a teammate and redirected it just inside the post.
“When you’re pushing to get back in it, you have to leave a little at the other end,” Plakorus added.
The Red Raiders’ final goal came in the 80th minute when Sarah Ellison scored her first of the season.
Montana outshot Texas Tech in the second half, 10-7, and generated both of its corner kicks, but the Grizzlies could not solve Tech keeper Victoria Esson, who picked up her third shutout of the young season.
“Texas Tech is a very good team, and I would not be surprised if they are in the mix to win the Big 12,” Plakorus said. “They put us under a lot of stress, and learning how to deal with that is part of the growing process.
“As the game went along, I thought we got better and better, and in the second half we played some fantastic soccer, even if the score does not indicate it.”
Senior Erin Craig and junior India Watne both took a team-high three shots in the match. Senior Lauren McCreath and freshman Mackenzie Akins took two each.
Hoon made eight saves through the first 84-plus minutes before being relieved late in goal by junior Kendra McMillen.
Montana will be the road again next weekend when the Grizzlies play a pair of matches at the Bronco Invitational at Boise, Idaho. Montana will face Boise State Friday at 6 p.m. and Idaho Sunday at 11:30 a.m.