It didn’t take much time. Or many words. Montana soccer coach Chris Citowicki walked into his team’s locker room at halftime on Sunday, his Grizzlies trailing Idaho State 1-0 at South Campus Stadium, and emerged just a few minutes later. It was his shortest mid-game talk on record.
Montana had controlled play in the opening 45 minutes, and everyone, including the visiting team, knew it. The Grizzlies had created multiple scoring chances, but still the Bengals were the team in front, thanks to their goal in the 42nd minute on one of their three shots.
“There was definitely some frustration. We had some chances in the first half we didn’t put away,” said junior outside back Taylor Hansen, who would play a key role in Montana’s first goal.
Another would come just minutes later as the Grizzlies (4-5-3, 3-0-0 BSC) remained unbeaten in league with a 2-1 victory. It was the first comeback victory for the Grizzlies under the second-year coach. Montana had been 0-12-3 under Citowicki when trailing before Sunday’s match.
“Chris really didn’t need to say much, because good teams respond,” added Hansen. “We came out and responded to the first half and put a few away. The better team came out on top.”
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Montana tied it in the 68th minute on a beautiful delivery from distance by Hansen, who is a wizard in open space, a combination of speed, quickness and skill.
She played herself into an opening on the left side, got the ball to her dominant foot and sent it to the far post, where McKenzie Kilpatrick was waiting to knock in her second goal of the season.
Alexa Coyle then used the momentum of Montana’s first goal to score her second of the season, the 12th of her career, less than three minutes later.
“We knew it would come eventually, just because of the opportunities we were getting,” said goalkeeper Claire Howard, who had an eventful second half. She went from getting kicked in the face, which required a stoppage of play, to making the save of the match, in the 88th minute.
Montana will try to hold down the top spot when it goes on the road for its next matches, at Northern Arizona (5-5-2, 1-1-1 BSC) on Friday night under the lights in Flagstaff and at Southern Utah (0-11-0, 0-3-0 BSC) next Sunday afternoon in Cedar City.