MISSOULA — The Montana women’s soccer team has secured the commitment of a high school player whose father and grandfather won the Super Bowl rings.
Riley Carolan announced her commitment to the Griz on Thursday as part of the Class of 2023. She is a center back, right back and midfielder for Washington State.
Carolan served as All-Metro League captain and selection while playing at Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle. She also captains Seattle United of the National Elite Club League, which is the highest level of women’s youth football in the country. She even participated in the Western Region Olympic Development Program.
“Excited to announce my commitment to be a student-athlete at the University of Montana,” she wrote on Twitter. “Playing DI football, with coaches and teammates committed to excellence on and off the field, is a dream come true. Thank you @Coach_Cito @MontanaGrizSOC Missoula feels like home already!”
Carolan’s father, Brett, played three seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins, and was with the 49ers the season they won Super Bowl XXIX. His grandfather, Reggie, spent seven seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, played in Super Bowl I with the Chiefs, and won Super Bowl IV with the Chiefs. His older brother, Quinn Carolan, is a redshirt freshman for the Northern Arizona football team. All three are or were tight ends.
Carolan, who is listed at 6 feet, is the second known member of Montana’s recruiting class of 2023. She joins Bayliss Flynn, a goaltender from Edina High School in Minnesota, who was ranked No. 1 in United Soccer’s national coaching rankings during the fall season.
Montana rebounded from a 4-3 loss to Montana State on Sunday by scoring a 6-1 victory over Dixie State on Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada, to improve its season record to 4-3.
The Griz got singles wins from Grace Haugen on court one (6-3, 6-2), Olivia Oosterbaan on court two (6-3, 6-0), Lauren Dunlap on court three (6- 3, 7-6 [7-2]), Maria Goheen on court four (6-1, 6-2) and Rosie Sterk on court six (6-0, 7-5).
UM swept their way to the doubles point with wins from Oosterbaan and Ivayla Mitkova on court one (6-2), Haugen and Goheen on court two (6-1) and Dunlap and Sterk on court three ( 6-4).
“There was great energy in the doubles to start the match,” UM coach Steve Ascher said in a press release. “We did a great job setting the tone by taking a few leads in the first set.”
Montana suffered its first shutout of the season Friday, an 8-0 loss to North Texas in its opener at the Tracy Beard College Classic in Melissa, Texas.
The Griz followed that up with a 2-1 loss to Nevada on the opening day of the tournament to fall to 3-4 this season. They resume the tournament against Colorado State at 11 a.m. Saturday and Nevada at 4 p.m. Saturday.
UM starting pitcher Allie Brock (3-1) suffered the loss to UNT, allowing seven runs, all earned, on seven hits, two pitching touchdowns and one walk in four innings. Shortstop Maygen McGrath accounted for two of UM’s five hits against UNT in the five-inning game.
Nevada took a 2-0 second-inning lead on a pair of RBI singles against pitcher Dana Butterfield, who fell to 0-3 on the season by allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out three in six innings. . Cami Sellers had an RBI sacrifice in the third inning for the lone run for UM, which had five hits and two walks.
Montana will open its spring season against North Dakota State in a singles game Sunday at the Rancho La Quinta Club in Palm Springs, Calif. This is the first of six spring tournaments for the Griz, their most since 2018, having won two of their four tournaments in the fall.
“Let’s put some pressure on them and see who succeeds and who doesn’t under the pressure of scheduling and traveling for the next two months,” UM coach Kris Nord said in a press release. “We’ll have an idea of where everyone is instead of trying to base everything on October. We need to get out there and learn quickly on the desert greens.”
The Big Sky Championships will be held April 18-20 at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. UM, which was selected 11th out of 11 teams in the Big Sky preseason poll, finished ninth last spring and hasn’t made the top five since 2015.
“We have more depth. We have kids outside the top five who could be in the top five if they do a little better,” Nord said. “I couldn’t say that the year before. I loved how the kids competed in the fall. I was happy with everyone’s play. Everyone improved. The goal is to improve a little bit every week, every month, and I feel like we’re going in that direction.”