HELENA — The Missoula Sentinel girls soccer team defeated Bozeman 3-2 in overtime to highlight the first day of the Class AA State Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Siebel Fields.
Sentinel coach Dan Lochridge said his team has been used to playing in tight games this season.
“We came in knowing it was going to be a tough game, but we have been that team that has comeback all season long,” Lochridge said. “We have given up a goal in the first five minutes in eight of our 14 games we have played this year. We have had to come back so many times and it’s incredible. I’m so proud of them.”
Bozeman scored first on a penalty kick by senior Katie Hayes in the 10th minute but the Spartans answered back two minutes later when Aisley Allen found Brittany Burman to tie the score.
During the second half the Hawks took the lead once again as Hayes found the back of the net, but Sentinel answered with a goal by Allen.
Finally in overtime, the Spartans took their first lead of the game when senior Ashley McElmurry scored three minutes into the extra period.
The win pushed the Spartans into the quarterfinals against Missoula Big Sky at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
Missoula Big Sky 3, Billings Senior 0
Missoula Big Sky shut out Billings Senior during the quarterfinals. For Eagles’ coach Courtney Shields, the win was emotional and a long time coming.
“This team shows up to compete and they have such passion for the game,” she said. “We have done something that Big Sky soccer hasn’t done since before these girls were born.”
The Eagles scored their first goal in the 23rd minute when junior Hannah Santamaria found the back of the net on a pass from Grasey Szwedkowicz. Five minutes later Big Sky doubled its lead when freshman Mazey Kasberg scored.
All it took was one more score by Santamaria to claim the win.
Billings West 2, Missoula Hellgate 1
Billings West defeated Missoula Hellgate on a last minute goal by senior Melissa Dugger during the quarterfinals.
West took an early 1-0 lead in the sixth minute when senior Amaya Winkler found the back of the net. Hellgate responded in the second half when sophomore Georgia Walker-Keleher found freshman Clara Tallent for the game-tying goal.
As time was expiring West finally regained the lead with a minute and a half left when Duggar scored.
Hellgate moved into the consolation bracket and will face Flathead Friday at 11 a.m.
The opening day of the State AA boys tourney saw the two No. 1s — the Western Conference's Hellgate and Bozeman from the East — stay undefeated.
Missoula Hellgate 4, Billings Skyview 0
Three-time defending state champion Hellgate (12-0-1) moved one step closer in its quest for a four-peat after shutting out the East's No. 4 Skyview (6-5-3). Matt Baldrige of the Knights, the league's top scorer, raised his season points total to 46, with a goal and two assists.
Also scoring for the Knights were Beckett Arthur, Marcus Anderson and Dane Becker. Cole Hage had two assists, while goalkeeper Brendan Oberg posted the shutout in net.
"I thought it was a good game. We played composed and possessed well," Hellgate coach Jay Anderson said. "We were dynamically better in the second half, more dangerous. After a two-week layoff it was a good start to the tourney to get under our belt."
Hellgate advanced to Friday's semifinals where it will play Billings Senior.
Billings Senior 3, Missoula Sentinel 3
(Senior wins shootout, 4-1)
The most dramatic match of the tourney's first round was Senior's (7-2-3) come from behind win over Sentinel in a shootout.
The No. 3 Spartans (8-6-0) led 2-0 on goals by Jake Larson and Quinn Winger, before tallies by the Broncs' Justen Unrein and Belina Nuefeld (in the 79th minute) knotted the score at 2s and forced the overtime.
The two clubs traded scores in OT — by Senior's Caleb Borgstrom and Sentinel's Cole Reimer — which led to the shootout. Then Billings' Nuefeld, Sam George, Borgstrom and Dax Wilson all planted their PKs. Larson was the lone successful Spartan, as Broncs' senior keeper Kolten Unrein blocked two of Missoula's three attempts.
"The first one, I stepped off the line, the way he stood on the ball made it look like he was going to the left, so I guessed that way and dove and got it," recounted Unrein, who was also in goal as a sophomore when Senior beat Glacier in a shootout at state. "On the second one, I guessed right, he went down the middle, and I stuck out my foot and it deflected back into the box."
Sentinel's Seth Thayer also had a great game in goal.
"I thought we had won the game (in regulation), I saw an off-sides ... we lost due to forces beyond our control," Sentinel coach Gary Stein said. "Our guys played fantastically. They're (Senior) a good team, but we know we're better."
Sentinel plays Skyview in elimination game at 11 a.m. Friday.