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MISSOULA — University of Montana senior defender Taryn Miller, who was instrumental in the Grizzlies’ return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011, was named third team all-West Region this week by the United Soccer Coaches.

The two-time first-team All-Big Sky Conference selection was also voted to the third team a year ago, making her the first Montana player to repeat as all-region since Shannon Forslund in 1999 and 2000.

The West is one of eight regions in the United Soccer Coaches’ awards configuration. The West Region is made up of the Big Sky Conference, the West Coast Conference, the Big West Conference and the Summit League.

“Ever since the United Soccer Coaches (formerly the National Soccer Coaches Association of America) reconfigured all the regions, it’s become a little more difficult to get awards like this,” said Montana first-year coach Chris Citowicki. “You’ve got to be a really good player.

“You have to be noticed not only by people within your conference but by coaches within the region. For coaches within our region to look at her name and say, ‘Yes, I remember her. She stood out against us,’ it says a lot. She definitely deserves it.”

Miller was one of eight players from the Big Sky to be recognized. Northern Colorado senior midfielder Mariel Gutierrez, a four-time first-team All-Big Sky selection and last season’s Offensive MVP, was the lone league player to make All-West Region first team.

UM sports information

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