Sunday, September 8, 2013

Red Lion Challenge concludes heavily in Frontier Conference's favor

It was a wet afternoon as the Red Lion Challenge concluded Saturday | Photos: Gerald Barnhart - GALLERIES
Frontier Conference coaches
The second day of the Red Lion Challenge finished nearly the same as it did the day before between the Frontier Conference and the Cascade Collegiate Conference. Frontier sides took four of the five games - eight of ten for the event - with the men sweeping in convincing fashion.

The ladies nearly wrapped up the event with six one-goal decisions were it not for Carroll College posting a two-goal victory in the nightcap Saturday evening.

On the men's side the four-game series over the weekend saw a total of 24 goals with Frontier registering all but four and posting a pair of shutouts Saturday.

M: University of Great Falls 2 :: 0 College of Idaho

The contest was thoroughly controlled by the Argonauts, who seemingly held possession in the offensive third of the field for nearly the entire contest only to have chances go unfinished. Fifteen minutes into the match they had their first chance to score when a ball up the middle found Anderson Cardoso cutting across the back line, but his shot went right to the keeper.

Less than a minute later though, Great Falls was on the board, taking advantage of a midfield turnover as the Yotes were transitioning into the attack. They played the ball quickly up the right side to a wide open Renan Zampieri, who drove partway to goal before slotting the ball across the box 17 yards out to Luis Torres, who drove in and beat the dropping keeper for the opener.

Shortly thereafter things began to heat up and things got testy verbally and physically before and after the whistle for most of the remainder of the match, resulting in a lot of physical play and a multitude of cautions.

It did not stop Great Falls though, and they nearly had another goal in the 21st minute when a ball over the top to the right edge of the box saw the keeper come out on the play. He dropped to gather possession, but his momentum on the wet surface carried him over the line and gave the Argos a free kick at the edge of the area. The dead ball was sent off the two-man wall for a corner which was subsequently dropped in at the far post where defender Paul Sliwa narrowly missed wide with a glancing header.

Paul Sliwa
Eight minutes later a long free kick from midfield along the touchline found Sliwa again at the left post only to seed his header from 10 yards go agonizingly wide.

The last chance of the first half came in the 34th minute when Danny Delgadillo stole the ball from Jamie Valle (McCall, ID) and drove to goal despite being pulled from behind by his jersey, slipping the ball left into Torres, who was charging in from the opposite side. Amid shouts for offside - the flag remained down - Torres went to goal only to have the net minder come out and drop on the ball to make the stop.

Seven minutes into the second half Sliwa finally found the back of the net when a Juan Valderrama corner from the right side found him again at the far post. This time he made certain it would go in from just a few feet away from the line.

"We've got a core group of - actually, we have a very young team. We only have one senior, but a couple of guys have really stepped up," said UGF head coach Paul Zazenski, correcting himself mid-thought. "Our centerbacks are really playing well and with confidence; overall just a good group to work with. Paul Sliwa this weekend stepped up with two solid goals off set pieces; and overall we're looking good and we're gaining confidence game by game."

The Argos had a couple more chances the rest of the way with Zampieri forcing another quality stop and Delgadillo having a good opportunity that finished with him directing the ball right to the keeper.

"Pleased about the wins. At the end of the day I told the guys we are here to finish up with two wins against two good teams; and I think that even though it wasn't pretty at times we got what we needed done," said Zazenski. "It was a good test for us throughout the weekend; the guys responded well."

"I'm expecting us to really go out every game and work as hard as we can," he said of what he expects going forward this season. "We are a possession-oriented team, but the biggest thing you tell them is sometimes you are not going to make the passes you want to or take the touches that you need, but you can always control the work ethic and how hard you play. So far, so good. They have really done all I have asked of them, and next weekend we play two extremely good teams and I think that will really test us out to what we are made of for the rest of the season going forward."

W: Rocky Mountain College 3 :: 2 Northwest University

Looking for their second win of the event Northwest took the lead 10 minutes in when Acacia Johnson took the ball from Shea Samuelsen and buried it.

The Rocky Mountain duo Therese Hagbyhn and Sydney Galletti proved unstoppable, however, with Hagbyhn finding Galletti in the 26th to put the game back level and then setting up Evelina Aberg in the 56th to give the Battlin' Bears the lead.

A penalty converted by Kelsey Greene three minutes later evened things back out, but Hagbyhn once again found Galletti with seven minutes left for the win.

"It was a battle from the first minute to the last minute. They went up 1-0 on a corner kick; I was a bit disappointed we didn't defend it better," Rocky Mountain head coach Richard Duffy said. "Sydney Galletti tied it up for us on a very good goal from outside the box and then obviously it went 2-2 and with eight minutes left Galletti scored her second goal of the season - great combination play; got in behind and drove the ball into the right hand side of the net. Good performance all around; the girls battled it out."

"They are doing good, 4-1, which is great considering the players we lost last year with Kirsty Montignani and Lauren Brophy - number one and number two career goal scorers," Duffy said of the team's start to the season. "We told them at the beginning of the season we are gonna need some players to step up, give us some leadership; and they are doing that. It gets challenging next weekend with Cal State San Marcos, a top 15 team, and then Embry Riddle are also just outside the top 25, so two good games coming up."

Annamarie Lopez
W: University of Great Falls 0 :: 1 College of Idaho

In a very tight game that saw very few opportunities, scarcely so for Great Falls, the College of Idaho was able to snare the victory with a lone strike from Annamarie Lopez (Nampa, ID) nine minutes into the second half.

The sophomore scored her first career goal off a ball from Summer Jackson (Boise, ID), chipping her effort over the keeper from just inside the area.

The Argos did have a couple opportunities to claim the lead in the first half. Four minutes in a shot from freshman striker Jamiece Yizar (Pocatello, ID) from outside the box was right to the keeper and with two minutes left Lauren Polito fired from the far left only to see it flash wide of the far post.

M: Rocky Mountain College 6 :: 0 Northwest Christian

Oliver Gore
After scoring all five goals the day before in the 5-3 victory, it would have been a lot to expect Oliver Gore to repeat the feat, especially two days consecutively. All the Englishman did though was post two goals and two assists Saturday as a light sprinkle turned to a steady drizzle throughout the contest in the wettest portion of the afternoon.

"Love the weather. I absolutely love rain, playing in it anyway," said Gore after the contest. "When we stop playing, I don't mind it stopping, which it's done. Definitely reminded me of home."

The Beacons defense held firm most of the first half, but the firepower of the Battlin' Bears was just too much to stop amid constant attacking pressure. In the 38th minute a ball sent into the box was one-timed by Chris Jermy for the opener. About two minutes later Gore rose to net his first, sending a header just inside the left post. With nearly three minutes remaining in the half he added his second, finishing a loose ball in the six after a cross had come in on the play.

The onslaught continued soon after the restart with Gore dishing the ball inside from the left corner to Treve Icenoggle (Billings, MT) for a first-time finish six minutes into the second stanza. Six minutes later an own goal was knocked in off a corner from just left of the penalty spot, and with about eight minutes remaining a shot from the left side went off the crossbar as the second-string keeper had it covered, but the rebound found its way to Tanner Wolff (Billings, MT) for the easy finish.

W: Carroll College 3 :: 1 Northwest Christian University

The Saints of Carroll were the first Frontier Conference side to suffer a defeat in the event, falling 1-0 in the opener Friday in a game in which neither side really took command of the game or created much of a threat. The event finale was a different matter for Carroll as they dominated possession and kept the Beacons on their heels most of the contest before finally breaking through in the second half.

In the first half, however, the Saints had a number of good looks. Twenty minutes in freshman defender Brittany Girolami came forward on the play up the right side and crossed the ball into the area, but the first-time volley by Haley Jensen (Clancy, MT) went over the bar.

Six minutes later a Kailey Edgar (Star, ID) free kick from 35 yards forced goalkeeper Mishayla Bertelsen to leap and slap it away, but the ball looped back toward goal, making her knock it away with a second effort before it crossed the line in front of the left post.

Star striker Macie Netz (Great Falls, MT) had a pair of chances before the half ended. In the 34th a ball was played forward to her in the box, but her effort from about 16 yards went directly to the keeper. Four minutes before the break Christa Saur (Boise, ID) played a ball into the six that was stopped, sitting idly in front of the goal. Netz crashed in to stab it home only to see the keeper dive in and snare it just as she was getting her foot to it, foiling a certain goal.

Cassidy Hammons, Haliey Richmond
Physical play turned sloppier in the second proved costly for the Beacons with two of the three goals coming directly off of fouls. Four minutes into the half, the first strike came when NCU's Haliey Richmond fouled fellow freshman midfielder Cassidy Hammons (Boise, ID) at the right corner of the arc. Hammons drove a well-struck the free kick under the crossbar on the restart for the opener.

A minute later Kayla Bayer tested Bertelsen from inside the box. The save kept NCU in the game, at least momentarily, allowing them to pull even in the 59th minute when a ball pinging around the area was finished by freshman defender Lauren Schweitzer.

The Saints reclaimed the advantage on an unlikely tally when Jensen launched a high floater from well out on the right touchline that seemingly dropped nearly straight down over Bertelsen at the near post and into the goal in the 69th minute.

Four minutes later another foul sent Carroll to the penalty spot when Netz, driving squarely into the area from the deep left corner, was pulled down from behind by her arms several yards into the area by Melyssa Weber. She drove the ball down the middle of the goal with pace, making it difficult for the keeper to stop the penalty with the partial contact that was made on it.

NCU pushed hard to rally and had a late chance come agonizingly close when a corner from the left side came to Brittany Cardwell in the middle of the box, but her volley on goal went off the hand of Danielle Turley and rang off the crossbar, creating a scramble to put in a rebound only for further efforts to be blocked. Even if the cardiac moment had produced, it would not have been enough, however, as the final whistle sounded moments later.

Second half highlights (missing NCU goal, but otherwise pretty complete).