MISSOULA — In a back-and-forth contest between evenly-matched teams, the Montana women's soccer team took advantage of a late opportunity Friday in beating Sacramento State, 1-0, at South Campus Stadium.
Both teams played strong offensively, combining for 33 shots. But both defenses were also on their game, totaling 10 saves and six blocks. It wasn't until the 83rd minute that Alexa Coyle scored an open-look goal set up by multiple teammates.
"I was really proud of the team today because I thought they had the right frame of mind," UM coach Mark Plakorus said. "They played hard, they played smart and they played together. The biggest thing today was our team effort."
The team effort was best exemplified on Coyle's goal, a play that began as a free kick and eventually touched seven different Griz players.
Chanelle Pederson took the free kick, which was headed by Ashlee Pedersen and eventually corralled in the opposite corner by Dani Morris. Morris passed up to Taylor Hansen, who passed to the middle and back to Raye Burton. Burton one-timed it and floated the ball up, which pulled Sacramento State's goalkeeper out of the box.
With the ball still loose, Pedersen did a great job fending off the goalkeeper and crossing the ball back to Coyle, who only had to control the ball in front of an open net.
"We played with a lot of composure today," Plakorus said. "We moved the ball pretty well and used the entire field. That's how attacking is supposed to be. You need an individual person making an individual play within a team concept."
The goal was Coyle's team-high third of the season. She also leads the team for points (8) and shots on goal (10).
Sacramento State (1-2-2 Big Sky, 6-6-2 overall) entered the game ahead of Montana (2-1-1, 7-5-2) in the standings, earning a win over North Dakota and ties against preseason favorites Eastern Washington and Idaho.