(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – Completing the non-conference portion of its schedule on a high note Saturday at the University of Mary Soccer Field, the Montana State University Billings men’s soccer team topped the host Marauders 1-0.
Senior Dana Kowachek scored his third goal of the year, freshman goalkeeper Dalton Mauzay earned a clean sheet in his first collegiate start, and the Yellowjackets stretched their unbeaten streak to four matches with their second straight victory.
“We came to Bismarck to get two wins, and we found a way to get them,” said MSUB head coach Alex Balog citing Thursday’s 2-1 triumph over Oklahoma Baptist University. “We defended really well and didn’t give any clear chances, and I’m happy that we are finding ways to win. The work rate today was absolutely phenomenal.”
Mauzay had three key saves for the Yellowjackets, helping the team to its second shutout of the season. The Yellowjackets are now unbeaten in their last four matches, and have pulled their record to 3-3-1 after starting the year with an 0-3 mark.
Kowachek’s game-winner came in the 23rd minute, and was set up by fellow senior Guillaume Kremer. The latter notched a through ball to Kowachek into a one-on-one situation in the goal box, and he finished a low, left-footed strike into the lower corner of the far post.
“We played a very good first half, putting the ball down and playing it on the ground,” Balog said. “We weren’t able to impose our will on Mary in the second half, and credit to them for that.”
After being out-shot 10-4 in the opening 45 minutes, Mary put together a valiant effort with a 6-4 edge in shots in the second period. But Mauzay and his back line held strong on each attempt that came their way. Italian center backs Samuele Folla and Luca Battistotti, as well as outside backs Liam Knox and Bryan Maxwell, each played the full 90 minutes in contributing to the clean sheet.
Senior Adam Hepburn and sophomore Shantik Bedrosian also remained on the pitch for the entirety of the match, playing quality minutes in the midfield for the ‘Jackets.
Mary goalkeeper Lukas Billhardt had four big saves in the contest, while his back line combination of Joel McIlroy, Stanley Joseph, and Steven Hutzenbiler played a full 90 minutes as well. McIlroy, Stanley, and Adam Stringer led the team with two shots apiece, but only three of Mary’s 10 attempts in the game landed on frame.
THE BUZZ: Mauzay was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…MSUB is now 29-7-2 all-time against Mary and is 15-4-1 in games in Bismarck…the ‘Jackets have now gone unbeaten in their last five games against Mary, and are 24-1-2 in their last 27 games dating back to 2003…the assist was the 14th of Kremer’s career, moving him to a tie for sixth-most in MSUB history with Thomas Pertuit (2001-04)…Kremer has had a goal or an assist in each of the last three matches for the ‘Jackets.
NEXT UP: Great Northwest Athletic Conference play begins with a tremendous test next week, as MSUB will face the league’s two nationally-ranked teams on the road. The Yellowjackets will take on No. 3 Simon Fraser University on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. Pacific time under the lights at Terry Fox Field in Burnaby, British Columbia. On Saturday, kickoff against No. 24 Western Washington University is set for 7 p.m. Pacific at Harrington Field on the WWU campus in Bellingham, Washington.