Griz soccer looks to continue Big Sky climb





The University of Montana women???s soccer team continues its pursuit of a conference tournament berth at home this week vs. Sacramento State Friday at 4 p.m. and vs. Portland State Sunday at noon. ??Sacramento State leads the Big Sky along with Eastern Washington at 2-0 and Portland Statesits even with Montana in a four way tie for third at 1-1.

The Grizzlies, at 3-10 overall have split their two conference matches, losing 3-1 to Idaho State Oct. 8 and winning 2-1 over Weber State on the 11th.?? Last season, Weber led the Big Sky Conference at 5-2-0 while Idaho State trailed in the standings 1-5-1. ????

??Sacramento state has a 10-3-3 record against UM, with a 1-1 tie being the end result between the two teams in 2008.

Sacramento State will be coming off a 1-0 win against Northern Colorado Sunday.?? In the contest, the Hornets outshot the Bears 14-8. Sac State goalkeeper Savannah Abercrombie logged her sixth shutout of the season. The Hornet sophomore has a .879 save percentage for the season and led the Big Sky as a freshman allowing only .61 goals per game.

UM coach Neil Sedgwick admits that there are few specifics that neutralize a strong goalkeeper, yet suggests, ???During play, you can do some things that will help you better take advantage near the goal.?? We can only hope that we have prepared our players best for each offensive situation that may come.???

Sedgwick continues, ???Sacramento State is having a great year coming back from a late season disappointment last year.?? As it looks now, they are on top form coming out of their pre-conference schedule.

???As a team, we can expect them to be more technical than what we saw with Weber State.?? The real danger with this opponent is that they will be able to transition from a defensive position to one of attack quicker than most.?? We will hope to stop them from moving the ball into scoring position as quickly as they have been.???

Portland State, with an overall record of 7-6-1 will enter South Campus Stadium Sunday following a 1-0 loss to Northern Arizona.?? The Vikes will play conference co-leader Eastern Washington Friday, then proceed to Missoula for Sunday???s competition.

The Vikes trail UM by one win in the school???s 8-7-1 record against the Grizzlies.?? Last year Montana??dropped a??match??to??Portland State with a 2-1 loss.

Portland State has a real threat in forward Dolly Enneking.?? The senior has scored eight goals, while recording two assists this season for the Vikings.

Sedgwick said, ???Portland State is an attack-minded team. We are aware that some of their athletes do have some special abilities around the net, but at the end of the day, its 11 on 11 and you cannot neglect any player in this game.

???Portland compares very much to UC-Davis that we played earlier in the season.?? We can expect a certain quality of athleticism in their attacks, but we plan on being ready for that. ????????

In recent play, Montana has achieved the necessary adaptations to better neutralize an opponent???s strength.?? UM assistant coach Peter Underwood describes the evolution of a team that will be a conference power this season, saying, ???We have definitely changed-up our formation to gain some width that really exposed Weber???s weakness last week. Having Abby (Grafft) back, and some really strong efforts by both Jaymie (Brown) and Carmen (Reyes), has allowed us to bring our game forward a bit, offering a certain flexibility with players like Sarah Stevens and Brandee Marone. It???s actually hard to single out any individual in that respect because it has been overall development with the team that has left us in a stronger place than where we started.???

Reyes started her first match this season against Weber State, playing a full 90 minutes.
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UM junior Kaitlyn Heinsohn leads the Grizzlies in points this season with two goals and two assists, though some of her most notable play Sunday against Weber State came in a defensive roll. Heinsohn recounts the offensive toward the end of last week???s win, mentioning, ???Toward the end of the Weber game, we were up, so it didn???t matter so much that we score again, but rather that they didn???t. When they started to pick up the pace a bit in the final 25 minutes, those of us that had been playing more offensively needed to step up and help our defense a bit more.?? It helped out quite a bit because it allowed us to bring the ball forward and, near the end of the game, it was those of us in the middle of the field that were taking on most of the attack, keeping them (Weber) out of scoring position.???

Noting the importance of UM conference wins, Heinsohn said, ???It will mean a lot to all of us to play in the conference tournament this year.?? Especially for the seniors, it will be their last chance, so you do a little more for them sometimes.?? It is our goal to host the tournament this year, and it would mean everything to us to do that. No one on the team has ever experienced that, and we are finally ready to do so. Hosting would be awesome: we wouldn???t have to travel and all of our friends, family and the Grizzly fans could come here to Missoula and share that with us.?? That???s what we want to give them.???

Live stats for both games will be available at www.montanagrizzlies.com/

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