MISSOULA — Northern Colorado scored a goal late in the first half and held off Montana’s second-half attempts at a comeback to win 1-0 in women's soccer action at Jackson Stadium in Greeley on Sunday afternoon.
The win moved the Bears, who will host next month’s Big Sky Conference tournament, to 5-0-0 in league. The Grizzlies fell to 3-1-1 in league play after allowing their first goal in more than a month.
In the match’s 38th minute, Montana established a new program record with its 703rd consecutive minute without allowing a goal. Just two minutes later, that streak ended when Northern Colorado crossed a ball into the box that Griz goalkeeper Camellia Xu couldn’t grab cleanly. It fell to the ground, where Sydney Engelkins kicked it in.
“Northern Colorado is very good at loading the box with as many people as they possibly can and playing on mistakes,” UM coach Chris Citowicki said.
“They had a cross that we didn’t play correctly, and they had a player who wasn’t running in to score the first goal. She was there just in case Cam dropped it. For them, it’s be there, just in case. (Coach Tim Barrera) has them executing their game plan to perfection. That’s why they score the goals.”
Northern Colorado had a big advantage in dangerous chances. The Bears took 14 shots and put seven of them on goal, and created nine corner kicks to Montana’s three. The Grizzlies put just three shots on goal of the 10 they took.
“We were trying to get services into the box and numbers, but we were lacking bodies in there,” said Citowicki. “We were not as aggressive as we needed to be in the final third.
“After a while, the plan just kind of broke down. We should have been going out wide and had more serves into the box. We were a little too direct through the middle. We made it a little too easy for them.”
Montana had a quality chance in the 15th minute when Sami Siems sent a ball ahead that Taylor Stoeger ran onto for a breakaway, but UNC goalkeeper Morgan Bury came out to shut it down before it could lead to a shot.
In the 66th minute, freshman Ava Samuelson took a shot that went off the left post. “You’ve got to put your chances away. It always comes back to that,” said Citowicki.