Years from now it will be a trivia question.
Which Belgrade team was the first to claim victory as a Class AA program?
Answer: Girls soccer.
Aided by an own goal, the Panthers claimed their first victory of the season Saturday at Seible Soccer Park in Great Falls. Both goals came in the second half as Belgrade shut out the Bison, 2-0, in Eastern AA action.
“It took me a second to realize that this was the first win in double A, but we have tough games and we know that they will be tough,” first-year Belgrade coach Carl Bridwell said. “We just recognize that we got the first one out of the way and now there’s no pressure to do that, not to say that we don’t want to strive for that again. But now we can at least keep our heads held high for the next couple games and know we can compete.”
Belgrade (1-1-0) took a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute when a Great Falls defender sent an errant pass into the net. Then the Panthers added an insurance goal in the 75th minute.
Sarah Tadvick created the late goal after dribbling the ball into the corner and then booting a low shot toward the net. Great Falls’ keeper made the save, but wasn’t able to secure the rebound and Dalani Brayton capitalized.
“Goal keeper made a save and Dalani was there to drive it across the front of the net and hit side netting,” said Bridwell.
The Bison (0-1-0) nearly took a lead into intermission after being awarded a PK late in the first half. But keeper Mackenzie Turner made the save.
“It was a tide turner,” said Bridwell. “Gave us more confidence going into the second half.”
Turner finished with seven saves in the contest, while the Panthers’ offense tallied 13 shots.
Bison boys hang on to beat Belgrade
There were plenty of scoring chances late, but Belgrade was unable to notch the equalizer Saturday morning in a 2-1 loss.
E.J. Dewell scored in the 73rd minute off an assist from Will Mauritsen to get the Panthers within a goal. Then Great Falls dodged a couple of bullets to escape with victory.
“That ended up being the final, 2-1,” first-year Belgrade coach Jeff DeBuse said. “But in that last 15 minutes we hit the post a couple times and had shots that went just over. Just couldn’t get a second one to go in.”
Great Falls (1-0-0) scored with two minutes remaining in the first half to take a 1-0 lead, and then stretched it to 2-0 in the second half. The first goal was off set play.
“Came in off a corner kick and we didn’t clear it out soon enough and then they were able to head it in off of kind of a scramble,” DeBuse explained. “Their second goal came about 20 minutes in, halfway through the second half. Kid was trying to cross it in and ended up hitting it right and it went in.”
Despite the loss, DeBuse was pleased with the effort. The Panthers (0-2-0) tallied a season-high 14 shots and had four corner kicks.
“I think we played better than we did on Thursday. It was kind of tough at the beginning of the game getting our touches down because the ground was really wet and the ball was skipping all over the place,” he said. “But I think as a team we probably played our best game this year.”
Belgrade 2, Great Falls 0
Belgrade 0 2 - 2
Great Falls 0 0 - 0
Bel - Own goal, 49th
Bel - Dalani Brayton (Sarah Tadvick), 75th
Shots: Bel 13, GF 11. CK: Bel 3, GF 4. Fouls: Bel 4, GF 2. Saves: 7 (Mackenzie Turner), GF 6.
Great Falls 2, Belgrade 1
Belgrade 0 1 - 1
Great Falls 1 1 - 2
GF - Unknown
GF - Unknown
Bel - E.J. Dewell (Will Mauritsen), 73rd
Shots: Bel 14, GF n/a. CK: Bel 4, GF n/a. Fouls: Bel 1, GF n/a. Saves: Bel 8, GF n/a.