BILLINGS, Mont. – Montana State Billings broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 66th minute and added a second goal with under a minute remaining in the game to claim a 2-0 victory over the visiting Western Washington University men’s soccer team on Saturday at Yellowjacket Field in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action.
The Vikings (6-4-3, 5-3-2 GNAC) were held scoreless for the second consecutive game as MSU Billings (8-9-0, 6-5-0 GNAC) evened the season series between the teams after WWU won, 2-0, in the first meeting between the teams in Bellingham earlier in the month.
The go-ahead goal for the ‘Jackets came after a flurry of shots on goal within the span of a minute for MSU Billings. After consecutive saves by senior goalkeeper Tyler Visten (Mount Vernon, WA/Skagit Valley College) late in the 65th minute and early in the 66th minute, the ‘Jackets were awarded a corner kick taken by midfielder Guillaume Kremer.
The corner kick cross was cleared out of the box to Kremer again, who crossed the ball to defender Realf Zhivanaj for a header attempt that went off the crossbar. A second shot by forward JD Hauenstein off the rebounded shot was ruled a team save before midfielder Niklas Schregel finished another rebound for a 1-0 lead and his third goal of the year in the 66th minute.
The Vikings generated 4 shots, including 1 shot on frame, as well as 3 corner kicks following the go-ahead goal but were unable to find the equalizer.
Kremer scored on a 20-yard free kick in the 90th minute with just 46 seconds remaining for his ninth goal of the season to double the lead and hand the Vikings their first loss by a margin of more than one goal during the season.
“It was a close game throughout, MSU Billings was able to get one in the second half off a set piece and we were pushing at the end,” head coach Greg Brisbon said. “I thought we were going to sneak one in but unfortunately we couldn’t do it, they got one late as we were pushing. MSU Billings played a really good game, I thought our guys gave great effort and worked hard and did their best – it just didn’t come our way today.”
Visten finished with 7 saves, including 6 in the second half, to give him 17 saves for the week after tying a career high with 10 saves during Thursday’s double overtime tie at Northwest Nazarene. The Vikings allowed more than 1 goal in a game for just the second time over the past seven games and entered the day ranked second in the conference for fewest goals allowed.
“The back four were solid today like usual and they keep getting better,” Brisbon said. “I’m proud of them, happy with them, it’s a tough conference like I’ve said many times and we weren’t able to get the goal today.”
Tom Lohmann made 2 saves in the first shutout of the year for MSU Billings. The ‘Jackets held a 16-6 advantage in total shots, with each team generating 4 corner kicks.
Off to a 5-0-1 start to GNAC play, WWU will look to close out the conference schedule the way it began league action entering the final week of the regular season.
“We need a win, we have to get a win in one of these games just to get some confidence back and belief that we are a good team,” Brisbon said. “Hopefully two wins, that would be great, but it starts with the first game so we’ll get ready for that one as best we can.”
The Vikings have two conference games remaining on the schedule, traveling to face No. 9 Simon Fraser on Thursday (7 pm) before hosting Concordia next Saturday (7 pm) for Senior Day.
Match Notes: WWU was held scoreless for the second consecutive game…WWU lost in regulation for only the second time in 2017...Vikings have scored a goal in 11 of 15 games this season…Tyler Visten made 7 saves after recording 10 saves on Thursday at Northwest Nazarene to give him a total of 17 saves during the week…’Jackets became just the second team to score more than 1 goal against WWU over the last seven games…the home team won each matchup in the season series between WWU and MSU Billings by a final score of 2-0…in both games a goal was scored during the game’s final minute.
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