HELENA — Reaching the championship game was the biggest battle in the Class AA girls state soccer tournament.
Both semifinals needed overtime to determine who will face off with each other at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Siebel Fields.
Billings Skyview was the first to advance with a 1-0 victory over Billings West when Jordan Roe scored the goal in the 96th minute.
She knocked the ball into the net at the end of a scrum in front of the goal in the second 10-minute overtime.
"I absolutely loved our resolve today," Skyview coach Cameron Icenoggle said. "We talk a lot about being frustrated and overcoming frustration. Today, that was what I was most impressed with. They played well, but just to rise to the occasion in that moment, and not let it get too big for them."
The Falcons will face Missoula Big Sky for the championship, while West plays Missoula Sentinel in the third-pace game at 10 a.m.
"It's one game, and that's how we treated it all year," Icenoggle said. "We have to be ready for tomorrow. The semifinals were at least fun. We have enough (energy) for at least one more game. I don't doubt them for tomorrow. They will be ready."
Skyview and West played a steady, controlled game throughout. As time drew close to the end of regulation, intensity picked up.
However, both teams started to show fatigue. Overtime was a battle of attrition.
"I can't give enough praise to West today," Icenoggle said. "That was the best performance I've ever seen we play against. This felt like a championship. It didn't feel like a semifinal."
Missoula Big Sky 3, Missoula Sentinel 2
Big Sky dealt with a string of injuries, but kept going to score two goals in overtime and overcome Sentinel. Whitney Morrison led the way with all three of her team's goals.
She scored on a penalty kick in the first overtime and followed that up with another goal three minutes later. Sentinel tried to rally with a Erica Hege goal in the second overtime period, but ran out of time.
"Our team dreams are coming true," Big Sky coach Courtney Shields said. "We knew we were going to win this game and we made it happen. We could play three more games and win. We are not done yet."
Big Sky needed to show its depth on the bench as players hobbled off. However, there was one potential serious injury when Cheyenne Cathey was taken to the hospital with a possible head injury, Shields said.
"We made a lot of different subs because of injury, but our fitness level is totally there," Shields said.
Both teams scored an early goal in the game. Aisley Allen score for Sentinel in the 20th minute. Then Morrison scored her first goal in the 26th minute for Big Sky.
"I never worked with a team that cared so much about each other," Shields said. "The love they have for each other gets them through everything and anything. They face adversity and work so well together, and their tenacity is amazing. They are so fierce. I can't say enough good things. They are so talented. Our bench is deep. Everyone wants to make a difference. And it showed today."
Missoula Hellgate 3, Kalispell Flathead 1
Grace Gibson-Snyder scored the first goal for Hellgate in the 36th minute, and the Knights kept on rolling to win the elimination game.
Hellgate advanced to the fifth-place game to be played at 10 a.m. on Saturday against Billings Senior, while Flathead concluded its season.
"We were super excited to be in the tournament since we don't go every year," Hellgate coach Ian Marshall said. "We were disappointed in the result yesterday, but they bounced back. They were eager to play today, and it showed. They were fired up and it was awesome to watch them put it all together."
Clara Tallent scored in the 57th minute and Lucia Baker added another goal in the 67th minute for the Knights. Skyleigh Thompson scored for Flathead in the 78th minute.
"It has all come together," Marshall said. "We had a really good half yesterday. Today, we had two really good halves. It's has been an awesome two days already, and I'm glad we get to do it again tomorrow."
Billings Senior 1, Bozeman 0
Blair Stapleton scored the long goal for Billings Senior to send the Broncs into the fifth-place game against Hellgate. She scored 46 minutes into the elimination game.
"We didn't want to be done today," Senior coach Megan Parish said. "We knew Bozeman was a great team. We play them all the time. So we are happy to be still be playing. It didn't feel like a loser-out game. It felt like we were playing for a trophy. We weren't, but it felt like it."
The first half-was played at a quick pace with both team evenly matched. The goal came after a struggle with the defense and Bozeman's goalkeeper.
There was some question if Stapleton kicked the ball out of the keeper's hands, but the referee said it was a loose ball.
"We weren't happy with how we started yesterday," Parish said. "That was something we focused on. They came out ready to play today, and we are supper proud of them."