The Idaho Vandals took care of business against the Idaho State on Friday to wrap up a repeat of the regular season Big Sky championship. The Vandals, though, will host the postseason tournament at Eastern Washington University in Cheney due to field concerns at Guy Wicks Field, which has been a muddy mess in their last two games.
According to sources, the Vandals were working on alternatives to hosting at home during the week, reaching out to Eastern, CC Spokane's facility at Spokane Falls CC and even Washington State University. Even the pitch at Eastern - despite a lot of work to preserve it - showed the effects of the weeks of rain Friday as the field was slick and a few spots began to produce mud stains on sliding players. Staff borrowed baseball tarps from CC Spokane and Walla Walla CC in their efforts.
Eastern, though, was less successful on the pitch in their finale as a two goal lead was not enough against visiting Montana, which rallied with two in the second half and an early overtime winner.
Idaho State 0 :: 3 Idaho #####
The Vandals outshot their state rival 12-6 in the first half, but Shawna Hennings made four saves for the Bengals to keep the match scoreless at the break. The second half, though, was a different affair. Clara Gomez and Kavita Battan combined in the 57th to set up Elexis Schlossarek for the opening goal. Gomez then went on to score the second 10 minutes later when Josilyn Daggs received her throw back from Megan Goo and sent the cross in to Gomez.
Schlossarek put the game out of doubt in the 84th when she buried a ball from Summer Kaneshiro in the 84th, and Torell Stewart finished things out with one save in her shutout performance. The victory gave Idaho the regular season title and the top postseason save. Based on other results, the Bengals would have been eliminated, but their third consecutive defeat left them four points and two spots out of the playoff picture. MORE: Idaho [+] ISU [+]
Montana 3 :: OT :: 2 Eastern Washington #####
Knowing that they had already clinched a spot in the postseason thanks to Portland State's defeat around kick-off, the Grizzlies could have been content to just play things out, and it looked like that was going to happen. After a couple close chances, the Eagles opened the scoring 11 minutes into the contest when a cross from Allison Raniere was nodded down by Jenny Chavez, who rose above several defenders to get to it. Chloe Williams (Spokane, WA) scored in the 25th on an indirect free kick about 25 yards out to double the lead.
The Eagles, though, could not hold onto the lead. In the 39th, the Grizzlies got one back before the half when a shot by Charlene Burger was stopped by goalkeeper Emily Busselman (Richland, WA / CC Spokane), rebounding on the save to Ellie Otteson for the easy putaway from about nine yards. The Grizzlies completed the rally in the 61st minute when a corner kick led to a scramble inside the six. With both Busselman and Ashlee Pedersen (Spokane, WA / Shadow WFT) on the ground, it was the Montana striker knocking it over the line for the equalizer.
There were two injury stoppages late in the contest with one being a brief five-minute pause following a head-to-head collision, but with five minutes remaining a well-driven ball reportedly hit the face of Carlee Bates, resulting in nearly a half-hour delay as trainers and, eventually, EMS personnel tended to her on the pitch.
When play resumed, her replacement Jacey Delaney (Bozeman, MT) played a critical role in deciding the match three minutes into overtime. With the ball deep in the offensive end she fed a ball to Aspen Peifer, who headed it in from close range for the stunning victory that ultimately gave Montana the fourth seed as opposed to the sixth had they lost. Eastern went from being second had they won, to the fifth seed due to the loss. MORE: EWU [+] UM [+]
North Dakota 0 :: 2 Northern Colorado #####
Last year's Big Sky tournament champions avoided missing the tournament, picking up the sixth and final seed with a win against the cellar-dwellers. Mariel Gutierrez scored in the 21st and Paige Morris headed in a corner in the 61st.
Southern Utah 0 :: 3 Northern Arizona #####
The Lumberjacks rolled to the victory with Lindsay Doyle scoring five minutes in on a ball from Ali Lixandru, who went on to score the second on a free kick in the 26th. Riley Porter scored the third int he 52nd with Meghan Dickmann registering the shutout.
Sacramento State 2 :: 1 Portland State #####
The Hornets picked up the road win with Jennifer Lum tallying in the 25th minute and Andrea Boehm providing what proved to be the winner with a flick-in of a Rachel Leonard free kick in the 56th. The hosts answered a minute later on a free kick as well when Krystal De Ramos put away a deflection that came off a Hornet defender.
BIG SKY TOURNAMENT Schedule #####
Wednesday, October 2 - Cheney, WA
(6) Northern Colorado v Northern Arizona (3)
(5) Eastern Washington v Montana (4)
Friday, October 4 - Cheney, WA
No. Colorado / No. Arizona v Idaho (1)
EWU / Montana v Sacramento State (2)
Sunday, October 6 - Cheney, WA