Carroll College’s men’s and women’s soccer team hit the road for a pair of games this weekend.
Both teams will take on College of Idaho on Friday, followed by a trip to Billings to face the Rocky Mountain Battlin’ Bears on Sunday.
“It’s a long trip and two very difficult teams,” women’s coach Dave Thorvilson said. “We have to prepare for two brand new teams that play two different styles of soccer that, for us, have been big rivals for us over the years.”
The women enter the weekend with a 6-3-1 (3-0-1 in Cascade Collegiate Conference) record, picking up a win and a draw last week against Warner Pacific and Eastern Oregon, respectively.
Carroll leads the conferences in shutouts with six in its 10 games, tied with Eastern Oregon. If Carroll keeps up its recent form, the Saints could collect two more conference wins this weekend.
College of Idaho has started the season 4-2 and 0-1 in conference. The Coyotes dropped their only conference game of the season to Rocky Mountain, 2-1. Forward Jamiece Yizar leads College of Idaho with three goals and two assists.
Rocky, on the other hand, has jumped out to a 4-3 record and 1-0 in conference. The Battlin’ Bears are winners of three consecutive games. Rocky has knocked off Whitworth, Great Falls and College of Idaho in recent weeks. Lauryn Gamache is the leading goal-scorer for the Battlin’ Bears with three scores this season.
The men’s team goes into its road trip with a 4-5 (2-2) record. Carroll split its games last week, prompting coach Doug Mello to juggle his lineup. The shift appears to have worked after Carroll had been shutout twice, the Saints rebounded to score a 2-0 victory of Warner Pacific last Friday.
“In the short term, the fact is, the conference is much more competitive than last year,” Mello said. “Any loss is a big one.”
College of Idaho is 3-3 (2-1) and the winner of its past two. College of Idaho ranks in average goals scored per game (three) and third for goals allowed (0.83). Forward Guilherme Siqueira leads College of Idaho in goals with seven scored in six games.
Rocky will be the Saints' harder test of the weekend. Rocky is 5-2 (3-0) and has won four consecutive games. During that same streak, Rocky has outscored its opponents 19-2. The Battlin’ Bears are powered by forward Nolan Sherwood, who has scored seven goals and recorded three assists this season.
Cross country heads to Missoula
The Carroll College cross country team returns to action Friday at the University Golf Course in Missoula for the Montana Invitational. The women will take to the 6K course at 10:30 a.m. and the men race the 8K course with the gun at 11:15.
The course is deceptively hard with only one major hill, but it will be a challenge with a talented field including Montana, Montana State and Gonzaga.
“It’s a course you have to focus on because if it is up hill and you aren't pushing hard you're going to slow down and it is the same with the downhill, you have to work to run fast,” coach David Morris said. “You’ve got to recover while you are still pushing. Mentally, you have to stay focused. It is one were you have to be aware of how you are feeling at all times during the race.”
The women’s team will be without three-time All-American Leah Esposito who is out for an undetermined length of time with an illness. The Saints have also dealt with injuries to Teal Bullick and Samantha Mundel, although Mundel is expected to make her 2016 debut in Missoula.
The Carroll men on the other hand, are in the best shape of the season and look to be building for another Frontier Conference Championship run. Two other NAIA teams, Rocky Mountain and the College of Idaho will be in attendance.
Chance Hyatt leads looks to battle again with Rocky Mountain’s Benson Koech. The two have traded wins with Hyatt earning the win at the Carroll Early Bird Invite and Koech winning the College Division at the MSU Invite.