Facing a late 1-0 deficit in its Big Sky Conference opener, the Griz soccer team got a goal from sophomore Paytyn Wheeler in the 89th minute to force overtime, and Montana and Idaho State played to a 1-1 draw before a crowd of 391 Friday afternoon at South Campus Stadium in Missoula.
For the second straight Friday home match, Montana mostly outplayed its opponent but could only come away with a tie. Last Friday it was a 0-0 draw against New Mexico State, a match the Grizzlies held a 29-5 advantage in shots.
Montana (4-4-2, 0-0-1 BSC) more than doubled Idaho State’s offensive output Friday, but it was the Bengals (5-3-1, 0-0-1 BSC) who used their lone shot on goal in the match to their advantage.
ISU senior forward Rachel Strawn, the most dangerous player on the field, collected a misplay by the Montana defense near midfield and had an extended 1-v-1 breakaway against Griz keeper Kristen Hoon.
With Montana’s defenders closing from behind and Hoon approaching from the net, Strawn pulled off a shot few in the Big Sky Conference could have 1) played and 2) finished.
With her momentum going up the left side of the field, Strawn lofted a ball toward the right side of the goal, and her Big Sky-leading eighth goal of the year entered the upper right-hand corner of the goal early in the 58th minute to open the match’s scoring.
It was Idaho State’s third shot of the match and one of just eight the Bengals would get in 110 minutes.
Montana took 17 shots in the match, none a better scoring opportunity than sophomore Allie Simon’s shot in the third minute that ISU freshman keeper Sheridan Hapsic saved.
Simon’s shot that went off the crossbar in the 87th minute felt at the time like it might be their final chance, but the Grizzlies kept fighting for the equalizer.
In the 89th minute, Montana played a ball to the right side of the goal and brought Hapsic out of net. Senior Erin Craig gathered the ball and played it to the front of the goal, where Wheeler had nothing between her and the net.
Wheeler collected herself and scored from close range for her second goal of the season and fourth of her career. The assist was Craig’s first of the season and sixth of her career.
Montana took six shots in the two overtime periods but could not generate the game-winner.
Nine different players took shots for Montana, which picked up a better-than-nothing point in the league standings.
The other four matches in the Big Sky Conference Friday were 1-0 decisions. Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado held at home against Southern Utah and Portland State, and Weber State and Sacramento State had road wins at Eastern Washington and North Dakota.
Montana will host Weber State (3-7-0, 1-0-0 BSC) Sunday at 1 p.m. at South Campus Stadium.