Montana Soccer finalizes 2022-23 schedule

(Editor’s note: University of Montana media release)

MISSOULA — Montana’s football program, playing its opener in less than three months, recently finalized its fall schedule.

The Grizzlies will play South Campus Stadium, where they’ve played 21-5-10 for the past five seasons, early and often in 2022, with the schedule starting with a home tournament that will bring Pittsburgh, Creighton and Gonzaga to Missoula.

Montana will also play home games against Wyoming, MSU Billings, CSU Bakersfield, Fresno State and North Dakota State.

The seven non-conference home games are the most for the program since the Grizzlies began scheduling a pre-Big Sky Conference schedule in 1997. Montana only played two non-conference home games as recently as 2019.

“It took years to put together a schedule like this,” said fifth-year coach Chris Citowicki. “Thanks to our business office for helping me put together packages that we can involve teams in and create a schedule like this. Every once in a while you get a blue moon. It took years to balance it properly. This is just an amazing schedule. This is as perfect as it gets. These are high-level teams from great conferences. It will be fun.”

Montana will open against Creighton on Thursday afternoon, August 18, and face Pittsburgh on Sunday, August 21. Gonzaga will play the other opponent in the early game every day.

The Grizzlies lost in double overtime at Creighton to open the 2021 season and later fell at Gonzaga, a loss that sparked a seven-game unbeaten streak and a run to another NCAA tournament.

Pittsburgh, which won 11 games last season, is coached by Randy Waldrum, one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history.

He led Notre Dame to national championships in 2010-14 and to 292 wins in 15 seasons at the school. His teams never made it to the NCAA tournament and reached the College Cup, the soccer equivalent of the Final Four, eight times.

He coached the NWSL’s Houston Dash for three seasons before returning to the collegiate game in Pittsburgh.

And that’s just opening weekend.

“It was an overall team effort that allowed us to build a schedule of so many home games against so many high quality opponents,” said Citowicki. “We wanted to do it the right way, with high-level teams coming in so people want to come out and see it. It’s a packed schedule that will really test us and prepare us for what lies ahead in the conference game.”

After Wyoming and Portland to wrap up August, Montana will host MSU Billings and CSU Bakersfield the first weekend in September, the same weekend that the Montana football team plays its season opener at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Later in September, the Grizzlies will combine away games at Colorado State and Boise State on Thursday with home games against Fresno State and North Dakota State on Sunday.

That brings Montana, which has won five Big Sky Conference regular-season and tournament championships over the past four seasons, to its league roster.

Montana will open in Sacramento State and Portland State and finish the regular season on the road in Idaho State and Weber State, the team that defeated the Grizzlies in last fall’s Big Sky tournament title match.

In between, Montana will host Idaho, eastern Washington, northern Colorado and northern Arizona over three weekends.

The six-team Big Sky tournament takes place in Greeley, Colorado during the first week of November.

Montana reached its sixth NCAA tournament last fall, its third in four years under Citowicki.

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