The Big Sky Conference preseason favorite looked the part Friday afternoon as Portland State defeated the Montana soccer team 2-0 at Hillsboro Stadium in Hillsboro, Ore. The Grizzlies were playing their opening match of a road trip that continues with a game at Sacramento State Sunday afternoon.
The Vikings (4-6-1, 2-1-0 BSC) went up 1-0 in the 27th minute on Daniela Solis’s third goal of the season and picked up an insurance goal in the 50th minute when the Grizzlies (5-5-2, 1-1-1 BSC) scored an own goal.
The decision was only Montana’s second loss in its last eight matches, but the Grizzlies’ listless performance did not have second-year coach Mark Plakorus reminiscing on the team’s recent successes.
“We were very flat today and showed no energy,” he said. “It’s frustrating, because this is a team that in training always looks fantastic.
“I need to do a better job of getting us to play at a high level on a consistent basis and prepare the team so that when they step onto the field they are ready to get after it.”
Montana was outshot 18-9, a surprisingly lopsided disparity for a team that outshot its opponents 64-22 on its recent three-match homestand and put 25 of those shots on goal.
Friday the Grizzlies challenged Portland State keeper Lainey Hulsizer with just two shots on goal and took two corner kicks to the Vikings’ nine.
The teams traded shots in the early going, including one by Griz senior midfielder Lauren McCreath that rang the crossbar in the 18th minute.
Portland State broke the scoreless tie in the 27th minute. Kayla Henningsen had the ball on the left side and played it to Daniela Solis, who brought it down and scored from 10 yards out.
The own goal early in the second half developed off a Portland State corner kick. Solis took the corner, and the Vikings’ initial shot was blocked by Montana. The ball ended up near the goal line, and a Griz defender’s attempt to clear it went off the crossbar and into the goal.
Down 2-0 with still more than 40 minutes to play, Montana only generated one more shot in the match, senior forward Erin Craig’s attempt in the 83rd minute that was saved by Hulsizer for the keeper’s second and final save of the match.
Hulsizer picked up her second shutout of the season, the first that resulted in a victory.
Portland State had nine different players take shots in the match. Craig and junior India Watne accounted for five of Montana’s nine shots.
Senior keeper Kristen Hoon played the first 81:12 in goal before being replaced by junior Kendra McMillen.
Montana will play Sacramento State (3-5-2, 1-1-0 BSC) Sunday at 2 p.m. (MT). The Hornets host Eastern Washington Friday evening.