It’s a familiar refrain, but music to the ears of Griz soccer fans. Senior Erin Craig scored her fourth goal of the season and senior keeper Kristen Hoon posted her third shutout of the year as Montana won its third straight match Friday evening, 1-0 over Indiana State on the opening day of the UNLV Nike Invitational at Las Vegas.
After three consecutive shutout losses, Montana has bounced back with three wins, two by shutout, to improve to 4-3-0 on the season. It’s the second three-match winning streak under second-year coach Mark Plakorus, who heads a program that had not had a three-match winning streak since 2006.
Indiana State (3-3-0) saw its two-match winning streak come to a close with the loss.
Craig’s goal in the 68th minute, the 17th of her career, came off an assist from freshman Mackenzie Akins, the second assist for Akins in the last two matches.
The goal held up as the game-winner as Hoon went the distance in net, needing to make just a pair of saves to record her sixth career shutout.
“This was a good win for us,” Plakorus said. “It wasn’t our best performance of the year, and part of that was Indiana State and how they played us, and part of it was us.
“But we kept fighting, so it was good to see us get the result.”
After putting four shots on goal against ISU keeper Erin Mitchell in the first 63 minutes, Montana broke through at 67:04.
A Griz midfielder sprung Akins with a through ball, and she crossed it toward the front of the goal, where Craig headed it past Mitchell from six yards out. Her 17th goal moves Craig up to ninth place on the Montana career list.
The Sycamores put just two shots on goal, one in the ninth minute, one in the 80th. Hoon gets the credit for the shutout, but the defenders in front of her made sure any sweat Hoon broke was due to temperatures that hovered in the upper 90s all match and not because of any pressure Indiana State applied.
“The back line played really well today,” Plakorus said. “They really limited everything Indiana State tried to do.”
Montana outshot Indiana State 10-6 and put seven shots on goal to ISU’s two. Craig took a match-high three shots, putting two on goal.
Senior Kate Wilkins and junior Alyssa Nystrom, both defenders, took two shots each, both on goal.
The Grizzlies will face the tournament host Running Rebels Sunday at 2 p.m. (MT). UNLV (4-2-1) won its third straight match as well Friday, downing Sacramento State, 2-0.