Aug. 21, 2012
Goalkeeper Kristen Hoon played 180 minutes in net last weekend as the Montana soccer team opened its season with a road split at Wyoming and Air Force, and only one shot eluded her grasp. The weekly honors did not.
Hoon was named the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Week Tuesday.
It was the first career Defensive Player of the Week award for the Corona, Calif., native and Montana's first Big Sky defensive award since goalkeeper Grace Harris and defender Kelly Fullerton received the honor during the 2006 season.
Hoon recorded her fourth career shutout in Friday's 2-0 season-opening victory at Wyoming, while facing a team that won 12 games a year ago and had eight returning starters. Hoon faced nine shots and stopped all seven that the Cowgirls put on goal.
In Sunday's 1-0 loss at Air Force, the Falcons scored the game-winner in the 80th minute. A free kick from just outside the 18-yard box deflected off a Griz defender positioned in front of Hoon, and the ball snuck inside the right post. Hoon made five saves in the match.
"I thought Kristen was one of the bright spots for us last weekend, as well as our entire defense," second-year coach Mark Plakorus said. "The back line played extremely well, and Kristen really benefited from their outstanding work.
"But when we needed her to come up with a save, Kristen did so. It was probably one of the better weekends she's had since I've been here."
Hoon became the team's full-time starter midway through the 2011 season and has started the last 14 matches. She concluded her junior year with a 1.36 goals against average and .770 save percentage.
The sample size is small for 2012, but Hoon came out of the first two matches with a 0.50 goals against average and .923 save percentage.
"All three of our keepers have been working hard with (goalkeeper coach Lauren `Taz' Robertson)," Plakorus said. "Taz has done a great job getting them focused on the little things that are so important to playing keeper.
"Kristen is playing with a lot of confidence and has really come a long way in the year and a half we've been here. When your keeper is solid in the back and the team has confidence in her, your whole team just plays with more confidence."
Hoon and Montana will be tested this weekend at the four-team TCU Invitational at Fort Worth, Texas. The Grizzlies will face TCU (0-0-1) Friday at 6:30 p.m. (MT) and Texas Tech (2-0-0) Sunday at 10 a.m. (MT).
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