Polson grads making the grade in collegiate level soccer

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  • Tiara “T” Duford

  • 1

    Ashlee Howell (27)

  • 2

    Jenna Evertz

  • Tiara “T” Duford

  • 1

    Ashlee Howell (27)

  • 2

    Jenna Evertz

Polson area soccer programs currently have a half dozen graduates competing among the collegiate ranks, five from the Polson High School Lady Pirate girls soccer program and one from the Mission Valley Christian Academy soccer program.

Here’s a look at how each has performed this fall.

Tiara Duford (PHS 2017 grad)

Rocky Mountain College, Billings

Junior forward Duford, aka “T” by nickname, has been one of the pointed prongs on the fork of the RMC Lady Battlin Bear attack.

Duford’s Rocky team recently wrapped up competion in the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) championship, where they placed second.

But her season is not yet over as Rocky (15-4-2) recently received an at-large bid to compete in the national tournament, their second trip (2008) in the history of the program. Rocky beat No. 18 seed MidAmerica Nazarene in Omaha, Nebraska, 2-0, Nov. 22. It then beat No. 12 Midland on penalty kicks, 3-2, to advance to the NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships, a 16-team tournament that will be held Dec. 2-7 in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Duford (2016: 23g8a) tied 2002 striker Lily Coble for the Polson school record for most goals scored in a single season. She also factored into all the scoring (1g1a¹1a²) in the 2016 semifinal against Billings Central that tied 3-3 after regulation and went to a 3-2 penalty kick shootout. Billings Central has won nine of the past dozen State A championships, having competed in 11 of those.

Jenna Evertz (PHS 2017 grad)

University of Providence, Great Falls

UP Lady Argo goalkeeper Jenna Evertz was named Red Lion Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week (POW) by the CCC for her pitch performance the weekend preceding Oct. 14. The junior Polson native picked up her first career win as well as first career shutout on her second-ever career start. She made a half dozen saves in a 2-0 victory over Corban University and grabbed three more in a 7-0 shutout over Northwest Christian University.

In a late October conference match in Great Falls against visiting Rocky, Evertz repelled two shots on the frame of the goal taken by Duford, her former teammate on the Polson Lady Pirates. Best of friends after a game wraps, it is game on, give it your best shot during a match.

Ashlee Howell (PHS 2019 grad)

University of Providence, Great Falls

Ashlee Howell was conferred with honorable mention recognition among the recently released CCC all-conference list after helping anchor the Lady Argo defensive unit. A top grade student who knows how to use her head in the classroom, the freshman Howell also put her noggin to work on the pitch when she knocked in a header goal off a corner kick. She also keeps opponents on their toes as she set the table for a couple of teammates by dishing out a pair of assists.

“Ashlee started up on the top and then found her way in our backline because of a need we had at center back,” head coach Brian Clarke said. “She has never really played that role before, but picked it up and did a great job for a freshman.”

Earlier into the season, Howell received a POW honorable mention for her defensive performance the week prior to Sept. 23 against Northwest University and Evergreen State College.

Howell bumped into former teammate Duford during conference clashes between both schools, as they hip checked each other during a game.

Marina Mayorga (PHS 2017 grad)

Feather River College, Quincy, CA

Sophomore Mayorga (2019: 3g5a,8sh) competed as a midfielder with the FRC Golden Eagles. Mayorga was thrice decorated with prep postseason honors and was also conferred with the NW Senior Showcase MVP before she headed off to the collegiate ranks.

JaNessa Taylor (PHS 2017 grad)

Feather River College, Quincy, CA

Sophomore midfielder/defender Taylor, aka “G” by nickname, was twice decorated with all-conference second-team recognition when she played for Polson. Both Taylor as well as Mayorga will be relocating to a new academic venue as Feather River is a two-year community college.

Rachel Maddy (MVCA 2016 grad)

Seattle Pacific University

Rachel Maddy was an integral part of the Mission Valley Christian Academy fall soccer program as well as spring league Polson Football Club competition. Maddy competes as a reserve goalkeeper for NCAA D2 SPU Falcons.

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