1998 Season Wrap-Up
With only one senior and a plethora of new faces, the 1998
Montana State-Billings men's soccer team made great strides in
just its third year of existence. Playing a schedule that
featured a Division I power and some top Division II clubs, MSU-B
posted a respectable 6-13-1 record. In years to come, more
experience will help the 'Jackets win the close ones; MSU-B went
3-6 in one goal games, including a 0-3 mark in overtime tilts.
Head coach Dan Carpenter, in his second
season at the helm, saw his young 'Jackets pick up a milestone
victory against the College of Notre Dame, play well against more
veteran Pac West teams and be in virtually every game the team
played in. A sign MSU-B is getting recognized on the field came
when sophomore forward Dave Austin earned All-Far West
Region honors. One of the top scorers in Pac West, Austin and newcomer Adnan Smajlovic gave the 'Jackets a solid
one-two punch that should continue to wreak havoc in the coming
years. A Year of Close Calls
In only the third game of the year, MSU-B had one of its best
moments of the year, and probably, in the short history of the
program. Playing in Utah against the College of Notre Dame
(California), the 'Jackets got second half goals from sophomore Jeff
Vega and junior Tyson Culver to beat the Argonauts,
3-1. Senior keeper Dave Thorvilson made nine stops
in the victory, helping MSU-B forget the tough loss in the season
opener. In that game, U.S. International rallied from a 3-1
deficit to beat the 'Jackets, 4-3, in overtime. Austin began his super sophomore year with two goals.
MSU-B's next two games, both at home, wouldn't count towards
official NCAA records (due to association rules) but don't tell
the 'Jackets they were meaningless. The home opener versus
Flathead Valley C.C. (Mt.) was tough to stomach as the 'Jackets
dominated the game but only got one goal, from Austin, to
go in. A 1-0 win was on the horizon before FVCC scored with less
than 30 seconds left in the game. The 'Jackets took their
frustrations out on Lethbridge (Canada) the next day, scoring
three times after the Pronghorns grabbed a 1-0 lead. Austin would score another two while Vega got his second.
Without a doubt, the toughest part of the schedule was next.
The team would play four games in four days, all against Pac West
members. The kicker was a 24-hour van ride to California where
the mini-tournament was being held.
While the 'Jackets didn't secure a win, they did improve each
day. Considering they hadn't practice a lot due to the long trip,
MSU-B left Humboldt State knowing it could play with its future
Of course, there were the typical close losses. In the third
game of the trip, Hawaii Pacific grabbed a 2-0 and held on for a
2-1 victory while host Humboldt scored at the 23rd minute mark to beat MSU-B, 1-0. That game was significant because
back-up keeper, junior Paul Corcoran, started and played
well (eight saves) over 90 minutes.
As the season was beginning to show, one goal games would be
something the 'Jackets would have to get used to. The following
weekend found MSU-B in North Dakota where Mary and Sioux Falls
were waiting. The UM game would be an extremely tough pill to
swallow; tied one all in overtime, the Maurders were awarded a
penalty kick (which they converted) on a very questionable call.
The 'Jackets would score three goals, all in the first half, the
next day against Sioux Falls to breeze to victory.
MSU-B finally returned home in late September with revenge on
their minds. Mary was coming to town for two games and the
'Jackets hadn't forgotten how the last one had ended. But, the
Marauders once again found a way to crush the 'Jackets hopes.
After tying the game at the 70-minute mark, UM won the game 13
minutes into overtime.
The final tilt versus Mary would also be decided by one goal
but, this time, it was the 'Jackets who would be victorious. Down
2-1, Austin tied the game right before halftime and then Smajlovic,
on a pass from Matt Cameron, scored the game winner with
eight minutes remaining.
After one of the biggest wins of the year, MSU-B hit the road
to take on Gonzaga, a team that had made the NCAA Division I
Tournament a year earlier. A former Bulldog, Thorvilson proved to his ex-teammates he could still play, stopping 23
shots. MSU-B was down just 1-0 at intermission and held Gonzaga
scoreless for the last 30 minutes.
The 'Jackets sixth and final win came soon after in Kalispell
against Flathead. Austin had his second hat trick of the
season, propelling the 'Jackets to a 4-3 win and their second one
goal victory in the last four games. Clearly, the young team was
Due to some injuries and red cards, the 'Jackets were
extremely shorthanded in its final three games of the year, all
in Colorado. MSU-B did give Colorado-Colorado Springs, an NCAA
Tournament qualifier, a battle as Austin, fittingly,
scored the 'Jackets final goal fo the year.
The club's only three-year member, junior Joey
Murphy, would pickup team MVP honors as well as being
selected Academic All-Conference. Culver, another
all-academic choice, was chosen as team Defensive Player of the
Year while Josh Reno earned Most Improved Player.