MISSOULA — The Montana soccer team won three consecutive matches early in the season, but considering what's at stake, this past weekend was arguably the team's best stretch of the season.

The six points in the standings helped Montana (3-1-1 Big Sky, 8-5-2 overall) jump from eighth place to a tie for third place, and every point is crucial in a tight race that features more than half the league with at least nine points. The Grizzlies will get another strong test this weekend, not only because they're on the road, but also for who they're going up against.

Idaho was picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll, a single point behind Montana, and the Vandals (1-3-1, 5-7-2) earned one first-place vote after winning the 2016 regular-season title. Eastern Washington (4-0-1, 10-7-1), last year's tournament champion, was the unanimous favorite and after a rough start to the season is playing phenomenally of late.

The Griz are scheduled to play Idaho at 8 p.m. MDT Friday at Moscow, Idaho, then travel to Cheney, Washington, for a Sunday tilt with a scheduled 2 p.m. MDT start.

— UM sports information

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