MISSOULA — Montana’s record-setting goalkeeper Claire Howard and multi-dimensional defender Taylor Hansen were named first-team All-West Region on Tuesday by the United Soccer Coaches.

It marks the first time in program history Montana has had a first-team all-region selection.

Both were instrumental in leading the Grizzlies to a 9-2-0 record and to the program’s fifth NCAA tournament appearance. Montana lost 1-0 to South Carolina in Wilson, N.C., last month in the opening round.

Howard, the Big Sky Conference Goalkeeper of the Year, played every minute in goal this season and finished with six shutouts and a 0.62 goals-against average.

The six shutouts upped her career total to 32, a new Big Sky Conference record.

Hansen, first-team All-Big Sky the last two seasons, was a third-team All-West Region selection in 2019.

A lockdown outside back since her freshman season, Hansen has become more and more of a playmaker as her career has progressed.

She scored her first two career goals this spring and added three assists. One of those assists set up Taylor Stoeger to score the game-winning goal in overtime against Northern Colorado in the semifinals of the Big Sky tournament that sent Montana to the NCAA tournament.

Both players were voted to the Big Sky all-tournament team.

Howard wrapped up her collegiate career making nine saves in the 1-0 loss to South Carolina. Hansen will be back in the fall as Montana attempts to win a Big Sky title for the fourth consecutive season.

The Big Sky had just one other all-region selection, Northern Arizona junior Madison Montgomery, who led the league in goals with nine.

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