Bulldogs Can't Overcome Montana In 2-0 Setback Friday
SPOKANE, Wash. – The University of Montana ruined Gonzaga University’s hopes of the first 3-0 start in women’s soccer history Friday, taking a 2-0 non-conference victory over the Bulldogs in the home opener at Luger Field.
The Grizzlies (2-1-0) got a pair of first-half goals and made them stand up to hand the Bulldogs (2-1-0) their first setback after a pair of season-opening road victories last weekend.
“Montana out-competed us. Pure and simple,” a disappointed head coach Amy Edwards said.
Mackenzie Akins got the only goal the Griz would need at 19:35 when she took a pass at midfield from Chloe Torres, broke left past a Gonzaga defender and shot low to beat keeper Christie Tombari. The second tally came just five minutes later when Torres again started the play with a left-to-right cross to Allie Simon who found the upper far corner for the 2-0 lead at 24:27.
“Both (goals) caught us in transition and there were some breakdowns. I’ll give credit to them, they did finish quality opportunities,” Edwards said of the two Montana tallies.
Gonzaga had perhaps its best scoring chance just 75 seconds into the contest when Cricket Harber’s header off a corner kick was saved by Montana keeper Kailey Norman for the first of her three saves.
“Who knows what would have happened if we would have scored the early goal. It might have changed the entire match,” Edwards said.
The Bulldogs wouldn’t get another quality shot until the 85th minute when Jordan Travis was denied by Norman from point blank range at the near post.
If there was a bright spot in the setback it was in the fact it came early in the season, according to Edwards.
“A bright spot is it happens to us at this point of the year and this has been our toughest challenge. The coaching staff expressed this game would be the hardest game at this point for us,” she said. “In that regard now we’re able to take a little look at some things where we got exposed, and it was on both ends of the field. We’ll get back to the practice field and get ready for Idaho.”
The Bulldogs get little time to lick their wounds as the University of Idaho, coached by former Edwards associate head coach Derek Pittman, comes to town Sunday for a 1 p.m. match.
The Bulldogs were never able to get their pressure, open-field offense in gear, but Edwards credited Montana with the game plan.
“I’m sure they scouted us and were trying to do everything they could do to disrupt our building out of the back and our possessions. They played high pressure and they were better than us in transition,” Edwards conceded.
Montana held a slim 8-6 advantage in shots, and Gonzaga had an 8-1 edge in corner kicks.