Sports

Griz Soccer Will Open Spring Season in March

Defending conference champions will play a nine-game spring season against conference opponents

The Big Sky Conference announced a revised schedule for the league’s spring soccer season, which will begin on March 12.

The schedule consists of Friday and Sunday matchups and will be five weeks long. The winner of the round-robin regular season will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. In 2019, Montana won the regular season championship while Northern Colorado claimed the conference tournament title. In July, Montana was voted as preseason favorite to win the league.

“You could sense the difference in practice as soon as I told the team there was a schedule and showed them what it was,” University of Montana soccer coach Chris Citowicki said in a media release. “The same energy we had in early August returned again. This makes it feel like it’s go time.”

The Grizzlies will play the first game March 12 at Portland State, followed by a match at Sacramento State on March 14. The first home matches of the season will take place the following week.

“People are hungry to see this team play, and this team is hungry to play. I can’t wait to play in front of people again,” Citowicki said.

Teams will be allowed to play games as early as Feb. 3 against non-conference opponents. Citowicki hopes to schedule at least one game before the conference opener.

“It is great for our student-athletes and coaches to see some structure coming to their spring seasons,” University of Montana Director of Athletics Kent Haslam said. “We have talked so much over the past several weeks about how spring will look, so I am glad to be at this point. There is still a lot to work through, but we’re excited about the opportunity to watch everyone compete again.”

Columbia Falls graduate Josie Windauer, a freshman on the Griz team, previously spoke to the Beacon about the suspension of the fall season.

“I have waited for freshman season to come for a couple years,” Windauer said. “Since the season was postponed, I feel disappointed.”

Windauer will get her chance in a few short months.