One of Colorado College's techniques coming into the match was to play the long ball instead of trying to work the ball up the field.
"It was difficult to defend against them," said Griz coach Neil Sedgwick. "Their game plan was to play behind us because they probably saw scouting reports that we were going to play up on them."
Part of the Sedgwick's "playing up" defensive scheme is to bring keeper Jamie Rizzuto out of the goal sometimes as far as 40 yards away from her net, which can do two things to the team. One, it creates another defender in the backfield to defend against the long balls and two, it leaves the net wide open for a long distance shot.
"A number of times in the first and second half our goalie was able to pick up balls that may have been defended against," Sedgwick said. "It's worth the risk."
The second goal of the match played to the vulnerability of Montana's defensive game plan.
In the 59th minute, Montana goalkeeper Jamie Rizzuto came out about 45 yards from her goal to defend against a ball that was lobbed over the Grizzly defense. Upon clearing the ball, Tiger's Ashley Hooverson threw her body in the way of the kick, which was deflected to her teammate Breanna Kernan. Kernan, seeing the goal was open, lobbed a shot from 45 yards out. The shot bounced into the back of the net to give Colorado College a 2-0 lead with 32 minutes remaining in the match.
A hush fell onto the crowd of 237.
"Ashley Hooverson put the pressure on their goalkeeper," Kernan said of her goal. "She did all the work, I just found the open net. I'll have to give her the credit."
Montana, who had 21 fouls in the match, maintained much of the possession battle and seemed to have total control in the first 33 minutes of the match with their aggressive physical play. Grizzly forward Lindsay Winans had eight shots total, most of which came in the first half. Winans recorded two shots on goal but was unable to find the net.
"It's always frustrating to miss goals," Winans said. "We had a lot of shots. We played hard but nothing was going in."
The frustration mounted when Colorado College's Stephanie Kernan scored from 15 yards out on the right side after she received a pass from sister Breanne who slipped behind Montana's defenders.
Montana mounted a rally late in the match when Nikki Bolstad found Carrie Lee streaking down the left side. Lee then returned the favor by placing a nice pass in front of the goal where Bolstad was waiting and one touched it into the net, bringing Montana within one with a little over 13 minutes to play.
The once hushed crowd exploded with applause and began to stomp the aluminum bleachers.
Grizzlies were desperate to score in the final minutes and almost did with Tara Schwager and Winans missing on headers and Bolstad blowing past five defenders to cross the ball that found a defender instead of the net.
"I don't think we ever thought we were going to lose the game," Winans said. "We came back and fought hard to the end trying to get some goals with our high intensity."
Montana drops to 3-3-1 in non-conference play, while Colorado College (4-3) improves their winning streak to four games, their longest winning streak in two years.
The Grizzlies will travel to play the Nebraska Huskers at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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