OREM - Coming off its first win of the 2013 season, the Utah Valley University women's soccer team looks to pick up two more in a pair of matches against familiar faces at the Montana Cup in Missoula.
The Cup begins Saturday for the Wolverines in a reunion with former Great West Conference rival Houston Baptist and continues Monday where Utah Valley will meet host Montana for the third consecutive season. Both matches kick off at 5 p.m. at UM's South Campus Stadium.
Live video streaming for both matches can be accessed online.
After dropping their first three contests of the season, the Wolverines (1-3-0) found the formula Tuesday night in a 4-2 win at Idaho State. Freshman Taylor Kirk scored twice, making the most of her first collegiate minutes and lifting UVU to victory after a violent thunderstorm in Pocatello moved the match indoors to Holt Arena. Sheridan Fox, another freshman, scored the first goal of her career to open the scoring, and veteran Haley Curtis added the finishing touch with a 25-yard strike in the 89th minute of play.
Lauren Sack saved five shots at ISU, bringing her season total to 23 through four games. She remains the WAC leader with 5.75 stops per match and also leads the league in save percentage (.742).
Saturday marks the 10th meeting all-time between UVU and HBU, but the first-ever meeting between the two schools outside the GWC umbrella. The Wolverines and Huskies were consistently at the top of the league, owning between them every tournament championship over its four-year era. Of UVU's three tournament titles, two went through HBU, which the Wolverines defeated in the 2009 and 2011 title matches. The Huskies took the tournament championship in 2010 but only after a victory over UVU in the semifinals. In fact, HBU handed the Wolverines two of their three losses all-time in the GWC as UVU leads the all-time series 6-2-1.
Now a member of the Southland Conference, the Huskies enter the Montana Cup with an 0-3-0 record. Each of its three losses have come by a margin of one goal as HBU, picked in the preseason to finish fifth in the Southland, fell at Tulsa (2-1), at North Texas (1-0) and in overtime at home to TCU (2-1).
Both Husky goals belong to sophomore midfielder Rebekah Tovar whose two goals have come on a team-high seven shots. Sophomore defender Blake Martin - last season's GWC Newcomer of the Year - was named second team preseason all-conference.
Utah Valley claimed last season's meeting in Houston by a 2-0 score line. Lexi Robison led the way with a goal and an assist while Sack posted seven saves.
Though not quite as familiar as HBU, the Wolverines have gotten to know Montana well in recent seasons as the two sides have met four times in the last three seasons. The Grizzlies lead the series 3-1-0 with UVU's lone triumph coming Sept. 24, 2011, in a 3-2 win at home. UM prevailed a season ago, also in Orem, snapping the Wolverines' five-match winning streak in a 1-0 decision.
Like HBU, the Grizzlies are winless thus far, and a single player has scored each of their two season goals. Ashley Robertson, a junior midfielder, found the net in a season-opening draw with Air Force (1-1) and struck again last weekend in a 2-1 loss at Loyola Marymount. UM also tied, 0-0, with Wyoming on opening weekend and suffered its second defeat, 2-0, at Cal State Fullerton on Monday.
Montana is coming off a 2012 season where it finished 12-6-3 and earned a share of the Big Sky Conference regular season title. Five starters are missing from that team, including Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Costa and co-Offensive Player of the Year Erin Craig. Still, the Grizzlies return four all-conference honorable mention selections from a year ago in seniors Maddey Frey and Mary Makris, junior Tyler Adair and sophomore Mackenzie Akins. Midfielder Makris has supplied two assists this season.
Utah Valley will have a six-day break at the conclusion of the Montana Cup before it hosts its final non-conference match of the 2013 season. The Aggies of UC Davis visit Orem for the first time since 2004 on Sunday, Sept. 15.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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