HELENA — The Helena Capital soccer teams traded identical scores with Missoula Big Sky on Thursday, with the Bruin girls capturing their contest 2-1, and the previously winless Eagles topping CHS also by a 2-1 score.
In the girls game at Northwest Park, Cassie Brisko put CHS on the board first in the 34th minute with a long, high bomb from about 30 yards out. The ball glanced off near the top of the left post over the keeper's head and curled into the back of the onion bag for a 1-0 lead.
After the halftime break, Bruin teammate Ashley Carlson netted what turned out to be the deciding goal. Carlson's tally came at the 50-minute mark, when she buried a deflected ball off the goalie.
With five minutes left, the Eagles' Bella Svihl scored to get within one, but the Capital defense was up to the task.
Capital improves to 7-2-2 for 23 points, moving past Kalispell Glacier into second-place in the Western Conference standings.
CHS outshot Big Sky 15-9, with a couple of its closer attempts coming from Sydney Sheridan and Carlson. Bruin keeper Tanlee Pipinich posted six saves.
"We created some good opportunities offensively, and were able to find ways to get behind their defense," Bruins coach Lindsey Gilstrap related. "Our midfielders did a good job disrupting play in the middle third with help from the backline, and Tanlee played a solid game in goal.
"We needed a win today and these ladies delivered."
On the boys side, Capital held a 14-6 advantage over Big Sky in shots on goal, but could not buy a score until Chris Meza's penalty kick in the 74th minute. This brought the Bruins within 2-1 after Vladimir Lemenza scored twice for Big Sky, at 30 and 58 minutes.
In the waning minutes, the Bruins' onslaught intensified — with Ryan Quinn's bullet clanging off the post and bouncing back into play coming the closest. But it wasn't to be.
Among Capital's numerous near-misses were close attempts by Pablo Jiminez, Connor Bartleson, Cody Brown, Quinn (again), Troy Bawden, Zach Snyder and Ben Heinzie.
"I've said it before, kinda the story of our season," said CHS coach Paul Patterson, whose squad slipped to 1-8-2. "Sometimes that goal gets closed early in the game and never reopens. I felt we may have been a little nervous at times and didn't possess as well in the final third of the field as we should've.
"But hats off to Big Sky ... they stuck around, didn't quit, and took advantage of their opportunities. Now we'll see how we rebound from this."