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Griz and Vikings play to 2-2 draw

Published: October 9, 2011
The Montana and Portland State soccer teams played to a 2-2 draw Sunday at South Campus Stadium in Missoula. The Grizzlies received goals from junior Erin Craig and redshirt freshman Ashley Robertson in the first half, and the Vikings drew even with goals 90 seconds apart early in the second half. With the win, Portland State (6-6-1, 2-0-1 BSC) remained atop the Big Sky Conference standings with Weber State (4-8-1, 2-0-1 BSC), which played to a 1-1 draw at Northern Arizona Sunday afternoon. Montana (4-8-2, 1-1-1 BSC) is tied for fifth with NAU (2-8-5, 1-1-1 BSC) with four league matches remaining for each team over the next two weekends. The top four teams in the final regular-season standings will advance to the Big Sky Conference tournament. Craig scored her first goal since posting a hat trick Sept. 22 at Southern Utah when she opened Sunday’s scoring in the 22nd minute. Sophomore Mary Makris fed Craig just inside the 18-yard box. With her back to the goal, Craig spun to her left and beat PSU keeper Lainey Hulsizer for Craig’s 10th goal of the season. Robertson made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute. Freshman Allie Simon took the ball to the end line to the right of the goal and played a cross. Robertson one-timed the pass for her first career goal. The match’s opening 45 minutes accomplished two firsts for Montana this season. The Grizzlies went to the locker room with a halftime lead, and they had their first two-goal lead of the year. Portland State junior Megan Martin, who had a hat trick in PSU’s 3-2 win at Sacramento State last weekend, erased the Vikings’ deficit early in the second half with goals a minute and a half apart. Her goal in the 55th minute came after Daniela Solis’s shot from distance hit the crossbar. The ball caromed to Martin for her fifth goal of the season. PSU kept the pressure on, and just over a minute later the Vikings created a corner kick. Amanda Dutra took the corner, and Kelsey Henningsen put the first head on the ball. She played it to the ground, and amid a number of players from both teams Martin scored in the 56th minute from seven yards out inside the left post. “Those things happen in a game,” UM coach Mark Plakorus said. “They created some chances in the first half and had a couple of opportunities that we got away with. “In the second half we didn’t.” Montana had a number of excellent scoring opportunities in the final 20 minutes of regulation but could not find the game-winner. With Portland State keeper Melissa Ferguson out of position, Craig chased down a loose ball to the left of the goal in the 72nd minute, but her deep position did not give her a goal-scoring angle, and her shot crossed along the goal line and past the far post. In the 77th minute Craig crossed a ball to sophomore India Watne. If she was 5-10 instead of 5-6, Watne’s valiant attempt at a header in front of an open goal would have made it 3-2. Redshirt freshman Maddie Simmel also had a golden opportunity in the 82nd minute. With Ferguson again out of position, Simmel took possession of a ball in the box and sent a shot wide right of the goal. Montana keeper Kristen Hoon made two saves in the first overtime period, and neither team generated a shot in the second overtime. “That was the first time we had a lead at halftime, and that was the first time we’ve had more than a one-goal lead this season,” Plakorus said. “In the second half we kind of played not to lose rather than continuing to play to win. That’s just part of the process of learning and growing as a team. “The important thing is we didn’t lose the game. We fought through and got a point. We’re sitting in the middle of the pack, so we’re still alive to get into the tournament, which is what we want to do.” Montana, which lost to Sacramento State 1-0 Friday, played its second good match in three days. The Grizzlies took 12 shots for the match, with nine different players taking shots in a balanced attack. Craig, junior Ashley Tombelaine and freshman Shannon Lindsay all took a pair of shots. Hoon played all 110 minutes and made a number of critical saves that allowed Montana to come away with a tie. Hoon had seven saves in the match, her biggest coming in the first overtime when she stopped Kala Renard from pointblank range. “In terms of how we played and the things we focus on, there is nothing more I could ask of this team than what they are giving me right now,” Plakorus said. “I couldn’t be happier with how we played. “They are playing their hearts out and playing some great soccer. Now we have to learn how to finish games and how to bury teams when we have the opportunity.” Montana will play three of its final four league matches on the road, starting this week at Weber State and Idaho State. The Grizzlies will meet the first-place Wildcats Thursday at 3 p.m. at Ogden, Utah, and seventh-place Idaho State (3-9-1, 0-3-0 BSC) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Pocatello, Idaho. Montana will host Northern Arizona Friday, Oct. 21, and play at Northern Colorado Sunday, Oct. 23. Notes: Sophomore Britta Hjalmarsson received a yellow card in the 43rd minute for her foul on Solis. ... Freshman defender Brooke Moody left the match in the first overtime with a shoulder injury. ... Craig’s 10 goals this season move her into a tie for eighth on the Montana single-season scoring list. ... PSU’s Renard took a match-high four shots, putting three on goal. ... PSU’s Ferguson replaced Hulsizer in goal at the half and kept Montana scoreless the final 65 minutes. ... Makris’s assist was her first career point. ... Simon’s assist give her three points on the season. She becomes the fifth player on the team with at least one goal and one assist this season. ... Junior defender Lauren Costa played all 110 minutes and has played in every one of the team’s 1,335 minutes this season. ... In Sunday’s other Big Sky matches, Sacramento State (6-7-0, 2-1-0 BSC) won at Eastern Washington (1-10-0, 0-3-0 BSC), 1-0, and Northern Colorado (5-7-2, 2-1-0 BSC) won at home over Idaho State (3-9-1, 0-3-0 BSC), 3-1. ... Portland State and Weber State, with seven points each, are trailed by Sac State and Northern Colorado, with six points each, in the league standings. Montana and Northern Arizona each have four points, ISU and EWU zero.
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