Gonzaga outshot Washington State, but it was the Cougars who were able to convert Sunday afternoon in Pullman as they posted a 3-0 victory to open their season. Goalkeeper Susan Brown was unable to beat Micaela Castain to the ball 15 yards out in the 24th minute, allowing the striker to put the ball past the attempted block of defender Morgan Manchester (Spokane Valley, WA). It was the only goal of the half as Kasey Rubosky (Spokane, WA) was able to make a sliding clearance off the goal-line early in the half after Jocelyn Jeffers had beaten Brown.
Heather Johnson (Kennewick, WA) and Jessica Bennett (Spokane) were among the several shot takers in the second half, but none were able to find the back of the net before Jamie Schneiders connected from 20 yards to double the Cougar lead in the 69th minute. Four minutes later though, Rubosky sent a shot off the crossbar. Brandi Vega would wrap things up with a tally in the final minute for the hosts.
Across the border the big three in Idaho were perfect with Boise State and the University of Idaho winning at home while Idaho State picked up a neutral road win in Boise.
The nearby Vandals needed double overtime, however, to get past South Dakota Sunday in Moscow, 1-0. Jill Flockhart made an excellent play to win the ball at the corner of the penalty area and slot it in to Chelsea Small for the winner in the 104th minute from six yards.
Head coach Peter Showler was unhappy with the performance aside from the winning goal. “We’ll take the win, but South Dakota should feel a little robbed today,” Showler said. “We just didn’t take care of the ball, didn’t have any heart, didn’t have any passion – the things that we’ve shown all preseason went out the window.”
The one positive was the defense, which was led by goalkeeper Liz Boyden (Spokane), who claimed sole possession of the school’s career shutout record with her 12th. Another plus was that the win ended a six-match winless run for Idaho in overtime contests.
In Boise, the Broncos dominated in their second match in the Holiday Inn Classic, dropping North Dakota State, 4-1. A well-driven low free kick from 20 yards by Katy Oehring opened the scoring 13 minutes in. After a lengthy stalemate, Anna Popma struck for what would prove to be the winner, knocking home a cross from Lauren Hickock (Bozeman, MT) in the 71st.
Following a Shannon Schueren tally three minutes later and a strike from NDSU’s Anisha Kinnarath in the 76th, Hickock would find the back of the net herself in the 82nd minute to give the Broncos their highest scoring output since 2010.
In the other half of the Holiday Inn Classic, the Bengals blanked New Mexico State Sunday with Amanda Ellsworth scoring the opener in the 55th minute of the contest and Rachel Strawn getting her third in two games eight minutes later. The result gives ISU a 2-0-1 record against the Aggies with the two having played to a 1-1 draw a year ago.
For the three Montana schools in action, the pair of Frontier Conference rivals were each winners while the University of Montana fell on the road.
Junior striker Christa Saur (Boise, ID) was the star of the match for Carroll College with her first career hat-trick. She opened the scoring in the 14th minute of a 4-1 victory against the University of Mary and added two more in the last five minutes to dash any serious hopes of a comeback. Rachel Kuntz doubled the lead for the Saints in the 54th. Macie Netz (Great Falls, MT) connected with Saur for her second with four minutes left and founder her again a minute later to push the lead to four before Andrea Muller ruined the shutout bid.
The University of Mary nearly knocked off Rocky Mountain College previously on Friday, falling 3-2 despite having the early lead on a goal from Michelle Jones five minutes in. RMC scored the next two with Jamee Robbins knocking a corner in at the back post in the 29th minute and Jaelene Zygmond (Billings, MT) heading it over the keeper in the 56th. Sabra Bertsch, who set up the first, equalized in the 68th for the visitors only to see Kirsty Montignani, who set up the earlier equalizer, score with six minutes left courtesy of Lauren Brophy (Helena, MT).
In Colorado Springs Sunday, the University of Montana were unable to get a sweep on the road, falling, 1-0, to Air Force via an 80th minutes strike from Leah Bratt on a free kick that deflected off a Montana player in flight.
In the lone men’s game of the weekend, the University of Great Falls earned an easy 3-0 win against the University of Lethbridge. Miguel Mendez (Bonners Ferry, ID) gave the Argos the lead 21 minutes into the match on a breakaway. He would add a second later with Danny Delgadillo finishing things off as the hosts had a man advantage in the final 18 minutes.