MSU-Billings hands Zias first loss

Freedom Newspapers

The Montana State-Billings women’s soccer team had already earned two wins on a season-opening three-match road trip, although neither was a cakewalk.

After consecutive 1-0 victories at Colorado School of Mines on Thursday and over Fort Lewis in overtime on Saturday in a match played at Eastern New Mexico University, the Lady Yellowjackets broke loose in dominating ENMU 3-1 on Sunday.

According to the school’s Web site, it was the first time Billings has posted a 3-0 road trip in the program’s history.

Fifth-year coach Don Trentham acknowledged that the Lady Jackets probably had their best match so far against the Zias.

“Being our third game in four days on the road, we played real well,” Trentham said. “Of course, it always helps to get two goals early.”

The Zias (2-1) had trouble keeping up with Billings, and may have been fortunate to be within 2-0 at halftime.

“We watched them play (against Fort Lewis) and we knew what they wanted to do,” ENMU coach Travis McCorkle said. “Their fitness was better than ours, and their technique was better than ours.

“They outworked us and outplayed us — there’s not much to say.”

ENMU appeared to grab momentum after halftime, though, and closed to 2-1 about seven minutes into the second half when freshman midfielder Kimberley Anaya took a through pass from Amy Wilcox and looped the ball over Billings goalkeeper Megan Plank.

“I thought Eastern made good adjustments at halftime, and we had to adjust to that,” Trentham said. “I saw Eastern play last year, and they’re a much better side. Travis is doing a good job with them.”

Senior Ally Stroup, who scored the Lady Jackets’ first goal about 13 minutes into the contest, then added the final tally on an indirect free kick near the middle of the half.

“It’s just a matter of maintaining our pressure on the other team,” McCorkle said. “Our second half was better, but it’s got to be that way for 90 minutes.”

Billings, which plays in the Heartland Conference, outshot ENMU 19-4 for the match, including 10-3 in shots on goal.

ENMU completes its season-opening four-game homestand with a 4 p.m. match today against Texas-Permian Basin. After that, the Zias will play only one time at home again until the final week of September.