PULLMAN, Wash. – The Montana women's soccer team won for the third match in a row on Friday night, defeating Georgia Southern, 2-1, on the campus of Washington State. The Griz were also victorious last weekend against Air Force and San Jose State, and improved to 4-1 on the young season.
"I'm really proud of the girls in the second half," head coach Mark Plakorus said. "They responded and lifted their level of play. It wasn't smooth by any means but sometimes you've got to be able to grind out things, and we did."
Montana took an early lead when freshman Alexa Coyle found the back of the net in the sixth minute. The goal came on UM's first shot of the night and was Coyle's second goal of the season. After a cross got loose, Coyle was able to kick it into the top of the net with a one-timer from the top of the box.
"She was in the right place at the right time and did her job," Plakorus said.
Georgia Southern would respond early in the first half, scoring in the 20th minute on a chip shot by Frida Brattum, assisted by Ashton Adams. That was the score at halftime, with the teams combining for just nine total shots – four by the Griz.
"We came out and scored the early goal, which was nice to see, but the rest of the half we really lost focus and intensity," Plakorus said.
UM would come out of the intermission strong, though, taking four shots in the first 15 minutes. The biggest came in the 55th minute, when the Eagles were called for a foul and UM capitalized when Janessa Fowler nailed the penalty kick to put the Griz back on top.
Kaitlin Crowell received a pass and took on the final defender, where she was grabbed while going around her. That led to the foul and ensuing penalty kick, giving Fowler her second goal in 47 career games.
With a one-goal advantage, the Griz were able to maintain control of the game.
After going down with an injury in the second half last Sunday vs. San Jose State – an injury that required 10 stitches to her leg – redshirt freshman Claire Howard made the start in goal, recording five saves.
Each team had 10 shots, and the Eagles doubles the Grizzlies' shots on goal (6-3). But the Griz made the shots that counted. Coyle led the Griz with three shots. Fowler, McKenzie Warren and Hallie Widner had two shots apiece.
The Griz will have a tall task on Sunday, facing No. 14 Nebraska, which entered the weekend undefeated. The Huskers played Washington State late Friday night. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. MT, with a free video stream available through the Pac-12 Networks.