Powered by a pair of second half goals, Belgrade snapped a four-match losing streak Thursday at Amend Park in Billings.
Junior Sam Waller scored in the 47th minute and then freshman Jonathan Foster found the back of the net in the 67th as the Panthers defeated Billings Skyview 2-0 in Eastern AA action.
“We came out ready to play. We played an extremely beautiful game of soccer today,” Belgrade coach Sydney McCauley said. “We brought a totally different intensity than we have in any game we’ve played so far.”
Both goals were the product of buildups from the back line. Waller scored after receiving a cross from Will Mauritsen, while Foster capitalized on a through ball from Waller.
“They were all build ups from the back,” said McCauley. “Our passing was great today and we just found the back of the net.”
Belgrade (3-6-0) won its third match of the season and posted its first shut out as a AA program. McCauley credited sophomore keeper Shay Schoolcraft for keeping the Falcons off the scoreboard.
“Shay had an amazing game. He saved so many close shots and we got lucky on a few too that rocketed over,” she said. “So we just got lucky and Shay played great.”
The Panthers are back in action Saturday hosting Billings West.
Girls’ rally falls short in loss to Skyview
Despite pressuring Billings Skyview throughout the second half, Belgrade was unable to produce the match-tying goal Thursday at Amend Park.
The Panthers trailed 3-1 at halftime and then got a goal by senior Dalani Brayton in the 57th minute to get within one. But Skyview packed it in defensively to protect the lead and managed to hang on for a 3-2 Eastern AA victory.
“It wasn’t really back and forth, it was just constant pressure by us,” Belgrade coach Carl Bridwell said. “We just couldn’t get the shot away that we needed.”
After struggling early in matches to create an offensive attack, the Panthers struck first when Peyton Robertson received a pass from Brayton, dribbled up the right side, and booted a shot that hit the post and went in just over 10 minutes into the contest.
But the Falcons (3-2-3) capitalized on a hefty tailwind to tally goals in the 13th, 17th and 31st minutes by Maddie Stubson, Charlize Davis and Layne Schaub, respectively.
“The wind was crazy in the first half,” said Bridwell. “It was all supporting Skyview’s side and it was just pounding our side.”
While the wind died down a bit in the second half, Brayton scored her second goal of the season to keep the Panthers within striking distance.
“We attacked and pressured hard and Peyton found Dalani through, and Dalani just did what Dalani does,” Bridwell said. “Dribbled away from pressure, got the goalie to come out and played the simple ball on the ground.”
Skyview took the defensive stance from there, however, and Belgrade’s offense was unable to crack it over the final 23 minutes of the match.
“At that point we were really pressing and really pushing up for a second a goal and we just couldn’t come through,” said Bridwell. “But we’re pretty happy with our play today.”
Belgrade is back in action Saturday hosting Billings West.
Belgrade 2, Billings Skyview 0
Belgrade 0 2 - 2
Skyview 0 0 - 0
Bel - Sam Waller (Will Maritsen), 47th
Bel - Jonathan Foster (Waller), 67th
Stats not provided.
Billings Skyview 3, Belgrade 2
Belgrade 1 1 - 2
Skyview 3 0 - 0
Bel - Peyton Robertson (Dalani Brayton), 10th
BS - Maddie Stubson (Sydney Robbins), 13th
BS - Charlize Davis (Mila Allison), 17th
BS - Layne Schaub (Ave Roe), 31st
Bel - Brayton (Robertson), 57th
Shots: Bel 6, BS 19. CK: Bel 0, BS 14. Fouls: Bel 6, BS 6. Saves: Bel 10 (Mackenzie Turner), BS 2.