Montana drops 1-0 decision at UCSB
Published: September 18, 2015
The Montana soccer team lost 1-0 to UC Santa Barbara Friday evening at UCSB’s Harder Stadium. It was the final pre-Big Sky Conference match for the Grizzlies, who open league play next Friday at North Dakota.
Montana (3-5-1) lost for the fifth time in six matches, while the Gauchos (5-2-1) extended their winning streak to five and their unbeaten streak to six.
“We competed like crazy tonight. I’m pleased with our effort. We just came up against a team playing with a lot of confidence,” said coach Mark Plakorus.
UCSB scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the 37th minute when Sydney Magnin headed in McKinsey Martinez’s corner kick.
It would be all the Gauchos would need against the Grizzlies, who took just a pair of shots in the match, neither of which was on goal. UC Santa Barbara had an 8-1 advantage in shots in both the first and second halves.
“We’re not sustaining our attack right now, so we’re having to defend way too much,” added Plakorus. “There are times we move the ball well and get into the final third, but we’re not being very dangerous as we’re going to goal.”
The Grizzlies played well defensively, holding a team that had scored 10 times on its then four-match winning streak to a single goal, but the mounting personnel losses are taking their toll on Montana’s attack.
In the preseason the Grizzlies lost Hallie Widner and Savannah Witt. Then came the season-ending injury two weeks ago to midfielder Jamie Simon. Earlier this week it was defender Ashlee Pedersen, who scored last weekend against Purdue, one of the team’s two goals it has scored over its last five matches.
“You look at everybody we’ve lost, and, with the exception of Ashlee, they are all attacking players,” said Plakorus. “We just need to keep working and plugging away and try to become more dangerous.
“But in terms of all the things I expect from the team, our work ethic and working together and working hard, we did that well today.”
Junior Kailey Norman played all 90 minutes in goal and made three saves. Taking shots for Montana were junior Emily Kardash and sophomore Charlene Burger.
Montana will face North Dakota at 3 p.m. (MT) next Friday, then conclude its Big Sky-opening road trip with a match at Northern Colorado on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 1 p.m.