Grizzly soccer notes

The Montana soccer team will face its first road tests of the 2013 season this week when it plays Loyola Marymount and Cal State Fullerton. The Grizzlies will meet the Lions Friday at 5 p.m. (MT) at Los Angeles, Calif., and the Titans Sunday at 2 p.m. (MT) at Fullerton, Calif.

Coverage: Both matches this week can be tracked via live video and live stats. Links to all live services can be found on the soccer schedule page at

Most recently: Montana opened its season at home last weekend by hosting the Kickoff Invitational at South Campus Stadium. The Grizzlies tied Air Force on Friday 1-1 and also played to a draw with Wyoming on Sunday 0-0. … In other tournament matches, Wyoming defeated TCU on Friday 4-3, and TCU beat Air Force on Sunday 2-1.

Montana quickies: Senior goalkeeper Kendra McMillen was named the College Sports Madness Big Sky Conference Player of the Week on Tuesday after holding Air Force and Wyoming to a single goal over 220 minutes of action. … Idaho State keeper Sheridan Hapsic was named the Defensive Player of the Week by the Big Sky Conference office after also allowing just a single goal in two matches but over 13 fewer minutes against Boise State and Idaho. … Prior to Friday, McMillen had not started a match since Sept. 24, 2011 … The shutout was the second of McMillen’s career. The first came in a 1-0 victory over North Dakota on Sept. 19, 2010, during her freshman season. … McMillen came out of the weekend with a goals-against average of 0.41. Her career GAA entering the 2013 season was 2.32. … Three of Montana’s six regulars across its back line are underclassmen. Tess Brenneman, who got the start Friday in her first collegiate match, and Mary Gintz are both redshirt freshmen. … In two matches last weekend, Montana allowed just six shots on goal while putting 12 of its own shots on goal. … Senior midfielder India Watne played 180 minutes last weekend, the most by any non-defensive player. Her six shots led the team, as did her three shots on goal. … Sophomore Taylor Rhodes has played 201 minutes at center back this season, the most of any field player. She played just 343 minutes a year ago while backing up Big Sky Defensive MVP Lauren Costa and Alyssa Nystrom. … Redshirt junior Ashley Robertson’s goal in the 63rd minute that gave Montana a 1-0 lead over Air Force on Friday was the third of her career. Robertson, who did not see the field in 2012, scored two goals in 2011. … Senior Mary Makris provided the assist on Robertson’s goal off a corner kick. It was the sixth assist of Makris’s career. At the time (and dating back to last season), the assist gave Makris at least a point in five of Montana’s previous eight matches. … Montana is unbeaten (2-0-1) in season openers in three years under coach Mark Plakorus. … Air Force and Wyoming took 13 corner kicks last weekend to Montana’s six. … Thirty-six of the 53 goals Montana has scored under Plakorus have been tallied in the second half and overtime. … Montana has posted shutouts in eight of its last 10 matches dating back to last season and has allowed just three goals during that stretch.

Coach Plakorus’s early-season assessment: “I like where we’re at right now. I think we answered a lot of questions defensively and can continue to build from here. I think we’ll be a very good defensive team when it’s all said and done.


“The problems we had attacking-wise last weekend were a little bit of a surprise because that’s where all our experience is. But at the same time, finding a rhythm and scoring goals is the hardest thing to do. It just takes time.

“I think the Carroll (exhibition) match (which Montana won 8-0) gave people a false perception of where we are as a goal-scoring team right now. We were able to physically run by them in that match, but you’re not going to do that against the Division I teams you face. There is just too much parity.

“It’s a thing where we need to learn how to break down defenses and how to get around them. And right now we’re trying to do it with some young players.”

More on Loyola Marymount: The Lions will enter Friday’s match with a record of 1-1-0. LMU opened its season with a 3-0 loss last Friday at Cal Poly. Loyola Marymount was outshot 13-3 in the first half and fell behind 2-0 in opening 20 minutes. The Mustangs picked up their third goal in the 74th minute.

The Lions returned home and defeated Northeastern on Sunday 1-0. The Lions more than doubled Northeastern’s shot output but did not post the game-winner until Carolyn Dunn scored off a corner kick in the 82nd minute.

Fifth-year senior Brittany Jagger went the distance in goal for both games.

Preseason: Loyola Marymount was picked to finish sixth in the West Coast Conference preseason poll, but that ranking comes in a very strong soccer conference. BYU, which is currently ranked No. 6 nationally, was picked third in the poll. Portland, ranked No. 16, was picked second. Santa Clara, which is 0-2 after losing to No. 1 North Carolina and No. 5 Virginia on the road last weekend, was picked first and is now sitting three spots outside of the top 25.

Last season: Loyola Marymount went 9-8-2 and finished sixth in the WCC at 3-5-0. The Lions did not play any postseason matches.

History: Montana and Loyola Marymount had their only other meeting in 1995 at Hawaii’s tournament in the second year of the Griz soccer program. The Lions won 1-0.

More on Cal State Fullerton: Like Loyola Marymount, Cal State Fullerton opened its season with a tough road matchup before returning home to collect its first win of the season.

The Titans traveled to BYU and lost to the nationally ranked Cougars last Friday 3-1. CSUF pulled within a goal at 2-1 in the 74th minute when Ali White scored unassisted, but BYU regained its two-goal advantage in the 78th minute.

Fullerton returned home and knocked off Fresno State on Sunday 1-0. Christina Burkenroad scored the match’s lone goal just 44 seconds before halftime.

Preseason: Cal State Fullerton, which won the Big West regular-season title a year ago, was picked first again this season. The Titans return only five starters but have 17 letterwinners back. Among those returning are junior midfielder Chelsey Patterson, who was voted to the Big West preseason all-conference team, and senior goalkeeper Lindsey Maricic, who has been starting since her sophomore season.

Last season: Cal State Fullerton was 3-6-0 entering Big West play a year ago, then got hot. The Titans went 7-2-0 in league matches to win their sixth Big West regular-season championship, their first since 2007.

Fullerton, the Big West tournament’s top seed, defeated No. 4 UC Irvine, which had handed CSUF one of its two league losses, in a shootout in the semifinals. No. 2 Cal State Northridge defeated the Titans 1-0 in the championship match with a goal 95 seconds into the first overtime.

Fullerton finished the season 10-9-1 overall.

History: Sunday will be the third meeting between Montana and Cal State Fullerton. The Grizzlies won the first matchup, in 1997, 5-0 at BYU’s tournament. The Titans won the second, in 2002, 3-1 at UC Irvine’s tournament.

California calling: More than a quarter of Montana’s roster (8 of 31 players) is made up of players from the state of California, and most of them will be on this week’s trip back to their home state.

Mary Gintz, of San Jose, is from Northern California. The rest of the players are Southern Californians and all from within a 100-mile soccer-centric corridor, with Chloe Torres (Arcadia) and India Watne (Los Angeles) at the northern end to Payton Agnew and Tyler Adair (both San Diego) in the south.

Cities represented in between are Newport Beach (Jenna Castillo), Lake Elsinore (Mackenzie Akins) and Temecula (Carlee Bates).

Montana will be making a return trip to the area in early November when the Grizzlies play their final regular-season game at UC Riverside.

Streaking: Montana’s two draws last weekend extended a pair of streaks for the Grizzlies, who finished the 2012 season on an eight-match unbeaten streak. The team’s 0-0-2 start to the season extended their unbeaten streak to 10 (7-0-3), which matches the second-best streak in program history.

The 1997 team owns the program record of 11, all of which were victories. The 1996 team had a 10-match unbeaten streak (9-0-1).

Montana’s home unbeaten streak reached nine (4-0-5) last weekend, which is a new program record.

Upcoming: Montana will return home next week for a pair of matches in what was originally envisioned as another four-team tournament. But one team pulled out, leaving just three teams.

Montana will host Houston Baptist on Thursday, Sept. 5, HBU will face Utah Valley on Saturday, Sept. 7, and the Grizzlies and Wolverines will play on Monday, Sept. 9.

— UM Sports Information

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