Tyler Stoeger delivered two big goals for the Montana soccer team and the Grizzlies advanced to the Big Sky Conference tourney finals with a 2-1 overtime win over Northern Colorado Thursday in Ogden, Utah.
Montana (9-1-0) will play Northern Arizona (7-2-1) in the championship match Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Ogden. The winner will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tourney, which will be held in North Carolina.
Stoeger, a senior forward from Wyoming, gave Montana a 1-0 lead with a boot from 30 yards away with 31:35 left in the second half. Northern Colorado answered with just under 13 minutes left in regulation when a Bears shot was deflected near the goal and snuck past Grizzly standout keeper Claire Howard.
That set the stage for Stoeger's heroics at 4:10 in overtime. Senior defender Taylor Hansen booted a long shot to the mouth of the goal and Stoeger made a deft touch with the UNC keeper bearing down, producing the game-winning goal.
In the first semifinal Thursday, Northern Arizona beat Idaho, 1-0. After a handball by the Vandals in the Idaho box, NAU was issued a penalty kick. In the 15th minute, Big Sky Co-Offensive MVP and Golden Boot recipient, Madison Montgomery, scored the first and only goal.
It marks the first time the Lumberjacks have earned a Big Sky finals bid since 2016.
Montana did not play Northern Arizona during the regular season. The Jacks won the newly-formed Southeast Division.
"The championship will be a little different, but the goal remains the same, to win the game," NAU coach Kylie Louw said.