Last year the Idaho State Bengals did not win a single Big Sky game. This year, their losing streak in conference play hit 13 games with two defeats on opening weekend last week. Picked in the preseason coaches poll to finish dead last, the Bengals put everyone on notice this weekend that they intend to put up a fight this year. After squeaking past North Dakota on Friday, they stunned everyone Sunday by rallying from a two goal deficit against the reigning Big Sky tournament champion Northern Colorado to post an eye-brow raising 6-2 victory.
The turnaround allowed the Bengals to jump from last in the league to fourth, sitting behind Eastern Washington, Idaho and Weber State. On Sunday, EWU posted a 1-0 road win over Sacramento State, avenging last season's opening round conference tournament loss. Idaho crushed North Dakota. Montana, meanwhile, fell 1-0 on the road at Portland State.
Northern Colorado 2 :: 6 Idaho State #####
Maddie Roberts scored in the 18th minute and Brooke Braden struck in the 27th to give the Bears early control of the match a Bengals side that ended their lengthy conference losing streak two days earlier with a narrow win over winless North Dakota.
Game over, right? Well, something sparked in the Bengals and they came roaring back with Meaghan Bare (Coeur d'Alene, ID) scoring on a cross from freshman Michaela Didericksen in the 33rd minute and sophomore Nikolina Musto equalizing three minutes later after driving inside the box.
And they weren't done. ISU went on to add two more goals for a 4-1 lead at the break. Musto ran down a ball on the left and found Didericksen in the 37th minute for the go-ahead goal, the team's third in a four-minute span. Didericksen then beat the keeper in the 43rd to push the lead to two.
Late in the second half the Bengals put the match out of reach when Samantha Rodriquez sent the ball over the back line that Esmeralda Nunez collected and put away in the 80th. Musto made it a four goal lead in the 85th on a ball from Tristen Spooner. MORE [+]
Eastern Washington 1 :: 0 Sacramento State #####
The Eagles' offense struck for five goals on opening weekend, but this week the defense showed its important role in keeping EWU atop the Big Sky table. After a scoreless draw at Portland State Friday, the back line and Mallory Taylor kept things going Sunday at Sacramento State, which knocked the Eags out of the Big Sky tournament last fall in the opening round, in a match that looked destined for overtime.
With just under five minutes to go, an Allison Raniere free kick from midfield found its was to Kiana Hafferty, who knocked it home from inside the six to give Eastern the victory.
The Eastern defense has allowed just one goal - a strike by preseason favorite Idaho in a 2-1 EWU win - in their four matches this season. The squad has not allowed more than one goal in a game their last eight games since a 3-1 loss at UNLV. MORE [+]
North Dakota 1 :: 5 Idaho #####
The Vandals held a one goal lead at halftime thanks to a tap-in goal from Kayla Watanabe in the 29th minute off a low cross from Kavita Battan.
Winless North Dakota kept things close until the Vandals exploded for three goals in 12 minutes in the second half. Madison Moore scored on a throw-in from Josilyn Daggs in the 57th and Battan scored off a Clara Gomez corner in the 62nd. A penalty converted by Elexis Schlossarek made it a four goal lead in the 69th.
Jennifer Pippin nodded in a ball midway through the 90th minute for North Dakota to spoil the shutout, but the game was not yet over. Twelve seconds later and with 12 seconds left on the clock, Sophia French and Summer Kaneshiro combined to find the head of Emma Eddy for a late Vandal strike. MORE [+]
Montana 0 :: 1 Portland State #####
An excellent first half in which the Grizzlies outshot the Vikings 11-4 did not produce a lead, which proved unfortunate in the second half when the hosts had the better of play and took advantage of a rare mistake from goalkeeper Kailey Norman, who's clearance off a pass back was blocked by Aurora Bodenhamer at the top of the box. She collected the ball and put it away in the 71st for the lone goal of the contest. MORE [+]
Weber State 2 :: 1 Southern Utah #####
The Wildcats grabbed an early lead with a Lana Willard goal in the fourth minute and a strike from Paige Stevens in the 22nd. The Thunderbirds made things interesting late with a goal form Shelby Green.
Coming Up #####
Friday, October 7
Weber State @ Montana 3:00
Northern Arizona @ North Dakota 3:00
Idaho @ Sacramento State 3:30
Portland State @ Idaho State 4:00
Southern Utah @ Northern Colorado 7:00
Sunday, October 9
Northern Arizona @ Northern Colorado 12:00
Idaho @ Portland State 1:00
Weber State @ Eastern Washington 1:00
Southern Utah @ North Dakota 2:00
Idaho State @ Sacramento State TBD