A 55th-minute goal from Montana’s Savannah Witt proved the difference as the Portland State women’s soccer team lost for the second time in Big Sky Conference play this season by virtue of a frustrating 1-0 loss Sunday afternoon at Hillsboro Stadium.
The Vikings dropped to 4-5-3 overall, 1-2-1 in the Big Sky, while Montana stayed perfect in Big Sky play so far this season, improving to 4-0-0 in conference.
The Vikings had two golden opportunities to score in the second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net for the third time in five games. The result marked the third time Portland State has lost by the score of 1-0 in the last seven games.
“The final score was disappointing today, but we created a lot of chances,” PSU head coach Laura Schott said. “We all just need to keep looking forward and continue to get better as both players and coaches.”
After Witt’s goal put the Grizzlies up, 1-0, over the Vikings, they had a golden opportunity for the equalizer in the 59th minute when Montana goalkeeper Kailey Norman was called for a foul in the box on PSU freshman forward Mackenzie Bean, giving the Vikings a penalty kick.
However, the penalty shot ricocheted off the left post, and PSU couldn’t make anything of the rebound.
Five minutes before Montana’s goal junior midfielder/forward Cori Bianchini volleyed a shot off the crossbar, and then fired a shot on goal less than 30 seconds later.
Bianchini and Bean (3 SOG) led PSU with four shots apiece. Ariana Cooley had two shots, both on goal.
Montana goalkeeper Kailey Norman made six saves, while Caitlin Plese allowed one goal and made four saves.
The only goal came off a long build up on the right side of the field. Montana got the ball in space along the right flank, dribbled the ball back to the middle of the field before taking a shot from the top of the 18-yard box.
Portland State defenders deflected the initial shot away from the goal, but it fell right to Witt’s feet just outside the six-yard line, and Witt converted the shot into the upper corner.
The Vikings maintained consistent pressure after the go-ahead goal, earning six corners in the final 35 minutes of regulation. But they couldn’t muster the tying goal.
The Vikings created a cluster of chances around the 14th minute in the first half as well, as Bean had a couple of shots on goal. In one situation, Bean was left one-on-one with the Montana goalkeeper, but she forced Bean to dribble around her rather than take a direct shot. That extra time allowed the Montana defense to recover, and they took the ball from Bean to negate the threat.
Bean had another chance in the 14th minute when she tried a quick shot that the Montana GK blocked, but quickly got the ball back for another attempt. Bean’s second shot found the body of a Montana defender just off the line, however, denying Bean a goal.
Sophomore midfielder Bianca Munoz headed a shot in the 15th minute as well, but sent it just to the right of the goal.
Overall, the Vikings outshot Montana, 13-11 in the match, including a 10-6 advantage in the second half when PSU was pressing for the game-tying goal that never came.
The Vikings reach the midway point of the Big Sky schedule in their next match when they face Idaho State in Pocatello, Idaho on Friday at 3 p.m. (PT). That match kicks off a split weekend between road and home games for the Vikings.
The Vikings host Weber State on Sunday, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m. PT at Hillsboro Stadium.
Notes: The Grizzlies’ win on Sunday ties the all-time series between Portland State and Montana at 10-10-2, as well as evening the teams’ record in Big Sky matches at 9-9-2. The Vikings had won six of the past eight meetings with Montana going into Sunday’s game, and also carried a three-match winning streak at home over the Grizzlies, who had not beaten the Vikings on the their home turf since 2006.
Oct. 10 at Idaho State, 3 p.m.*
Oct. 12 WEBER STATE, 1 p.m.*
Oct. 17 at Northern Colorado, 6 p.m.*
Oct. 19 at North Dakota, 9 a.m.*
Oct. 26 IDAHO, 1 p.m.*
(All Times Pacific)
* Big Sky Conference Game
LAST FIVE RESULTS
Sept. 21 SAN JOSE STATE, L 1-0
Sept. 26 at Northern Arizona, T 1-1
Sept. 28 at Southern Utah, L 2-0
Oct. 3 EASTERN WASHINGTON, W 3-1
Oct. 5 MONTANA, L 1-0
Photos courtesy of Portland State Media Relations office