The Montana soccer team built an early 2-1 lead at Utah Valley Sunday, but the Wolverines responded with five unanswered goals over the final 70 minutes to hand the Grizzlies a 6-2 loss at Orem, Utah.
It was Montana’s first loss of the season and the most goals allowed by the Grizzlies (2-1-1) since 2010.
“I didn’t really feel like we performed at all today. It was just a rough day for us,” said fifth-year coach Mark Plakorus, whose team has posted a pair of shutouts in its Friday matches this season and given up nine goals in its Sunday matches.
“We have to learn how to bring the same focus, intensity and effort we bring on a Friday to Sunday. We haven’t figured that out yet, and that’s my responsibility. I’ve got to make sure the team is better prepared for these Sunday games.”
Montana scored 93 seconds into its 1-0 victory at Nevada Friday night and got on the board quickly again on Sunday. Freshman Dani Morris took a pass from junior Mary Gintz and scored in the upper right corner from 20 yards out just 3:17 into the match.
But unlike Friday, when the Grizzlies shut down the Wolf Pack offensively, the Wolverines responded every time they faced a deficit.
Jamie Brown made it 1-1 in the sixth minute, and after senior Mackenzie Akins scored her second goal of the weekend, off assists from sophomores Jamie Simon and Jenna Castillo, to put Montana back up 2-1 at 17:17, Sheridan Fox evened it at 2-2 in the 23rd minute.
Sara Callister scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the 35th minute. Utah Valley led 3-2 at the half.
“The disappointing thing was I thought we started out all right,” said Plakorus. “The game kicked off, we got into a nice flow, we scored an early goal. But then we turned around and gave goals right back.”
Montana outshot Utah Valley through the first 20 minutes, but the Grizzlies generated just one shot the final 25 minutes of the first half and were outshot 8-1 in the second half.
Utah Valley (3-1-0) pulled away with goals just 96 seconds apart early in the second half. The Wolverines scored their final goal in the 83rd minute.
“We just have to learn from this and put it behind us and get better as a team,” said Plakorus. “We didn’t execute what we were supposed to, and there were a lot of mistakes we were making in the little things we have to do to be successful.”
Morris and sophomore Kaitlin Crowell both took two shots for Montana, which got outshot 13-7. Nine of the Wolverines’ 13 shots were on goal; six got by junior goalkeeper Kailey Norman, who entered the match with zero goals allowed in 135 minutes in net this season.
Montana will host Washington State (3-0-0) on Friday at 5 p.m. at South Campus Stadium and Iowa (2-0-0) at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. Iowa will face Utah State (3-1-0) Friday at 2 p.m.