Through two matches this season one thing has already become apparent. It’s going to take a lot to rattle the girls soccer team at Belgrade.
Rylee Jaraczeski scored with less than five seconds remaining in the first half Thursday evening to give Great Falls CMR a 1-0 lead heading into intermission at the Belgrade Youth Sports Complex.
The goal did little to shake the Panthers, who scored the equalizer less than five minutes into the second half. While CMR went on to win the Eastern AA opener 2-1, it was Belgrade’s players who left the pitch with a big boost of confidence.
“We had our chances,” first-year Panthers coach Carl Bridwell said. “It’s partially a conditioning thing too. We’re a little light on varsity, so being tired in that heat that took a toll.”
Belgrade (0-1-0) competed with just four subs in the 90-degree heat, and players expended quite a bit of energy keeping pace with CMR’s overall quickness.
Still, the Panthers appeared headed into the break scoreless thanks to a stellar effort in goal by Mackenzie Turner. The sophomore made several key saves despite being peppered with nearly a dozen shots.
But Jaraczeski capitalized following a perfect cross by Hayley Cochran to seemingly change the strategy at halftime.
“We stayed the same in the second half,” said Bridwell. “We said it takes a whole game to win, so didn’t really lose confidence there.”
Sarah Marshall knotted the game at 1-1 in the 44th minute, capitalizing on a tactic discussed at halftime. The senior forward lofted a long shot, which caught keeper Robin Blair out of position, and found the back of the net.
“Our immediate talk was their goalkeeper’s high, we can shoot from distance,” said Bridwell. “And in the first few minutes we scored from there and made it even.”
The Rustlers tallied the game-winning goal in the 66th minute thanks to a hustling Jackie Fatz. But it did little to diminish Belgrade’s defensive effort and the play of Turner, who finished with 20 saves.
“That gives our centerback so much confidence to know that they have someone behind them who’s not only communicating the right things, but making the saves that builds them up and gets them to keep fighting,” said Bridwell. “It can be deflating when you see a ball over the top, but when she’s making those big saves time and time again it boosts their morale.”
Roque leads Rustlers’ boys past Belgrade
Moses Roque scored four goals, including three in the second half, to lead the Rustlers to a 4-1 victory.
The three-goal spread was a bit misleading, however, as Belgrade trailed just 2-1 with 20 minutes remaining. Thus, it was an encouraging loss for the Panthers, who were shut out 7-0 against Bozeman’s JV in a season-opening friendly a week ago.
“I really don’t feel 4-1 was indicative of how we played, but it is what it is,” first-year Belgrade coach Jeff DeBuse said. “We played a lot better. There was some stuff we worked on at practice that we were able to tweak and fix, and it’s just the little things that are getting us now.”
Roque scored less than two minutes into the contest. While the Rustlers controlled much of the play in the first half, it was still just a one-goal game at intermission.
Roque scored again the 52nd minute after creating a steal for a 2-0 lead. But just five minutes later the Panthers scored their first goal of the season.
Sean Smith found paydirt on a high-arching free kick from nearly 50 yards out that snuck over a leaping Christian Buhler in goal. The senior defenseman then celebrated with a nifty back flip.
“I have no idea if he was trying to shoot it or cross it, but (it) definitely picked up the intensity a little bit. Everybody was fired up and he was fired up,” said DeBuse. “That was awesome … he really deserved one. He was getting into the attack time after time.”
But Roque took advantage of two more defensive miscues to cap the scoring in the 61st and 73rd minutes. The first of those goals slipped under Trey Nelson as he hit the ground trying to make the save.
“Just kind of a loss of focus on both of them. The one that kind of trickled under Trey, it had a little bit of a deflection to it,” said DeBuse. “Just a little bit of a loss of focus and talked to them afterwards. It’s the little things that getting us. As soon as we can fix those and stay focused for 80 minutes, I think we’ll get a better result.”
Great Falls CMR 2, Belgrade 1
CMR 1 1 - 2
Belgrade 0 1 - 1
CMR - Rylee Jaraczeski (Hayley Cochran), 40th
Bel - Sarah Marshall (Abby Black), 44th
CMR - Jackie Fatz (Cochran), 66th
Shots: CMR 34, Bel 7. CK: CMR 11, Bel 0. Fouls: CMR 0, Bel 3. Saves: CMR 1 (Robin Bair), Bel: 20 (Mackenzie Turner).
Great Falls CMR 4, Belgrade 1
CMR 1 3 - 4
Belgrade 0 1 - 1
CMR - Moses Roque (Jonathan Johanson), 2nd
CMR - Roque (unassited), 52nd
Bel - Sean Smith (DK), 57th
CMR - Roque (Matt McGraw), 67th
CMR - Roque (McGraw), 73rd
Shots: CMR 14, Bel 3. CK: CMR 8, Bel 3. Fouls: n/a. Saves: n/a.