Belgrade snapped a scoreless streak that lasted more than 190 minutes and stretched over the span of four matches Tuesday in Great Falls.
But the Panthers were unable to muster enough offense to generate a victory at Seible Soccer Park en route to a 2-1 Eastern AA loss to Great Falls CMR. With the defeat, the team’s hopes of hosting a playoff match have all but vanished.
“That’s a gutting kind of experience knowing that we might not be able to host. We already knew that we weren’t in control of our destiny, but we were able to impact something,” Belgrade coach Carl Bridwell said. “Now we just get to see where our cards play and compete against whoever we can and however we can.”
The Panthers (2-6-3) gave up and early goal when Rylee Jaraczeski scored in the 5th minute off a long cross by Hayley Cochran.
“She (Cochran) assisted by getting it on her right foot, as she has done all season, and sent a long ball across and our outside back on the far side wasn’t ready. And they just tapped it in,” Bridwell explained. “But we regrouped very well.”
Belgrade notched the equalizer in the 29th minute when Sarah Tadvik scored following a scramble in the box after a breakaway. There were plenty of other opportunities for the Panthers, who tallied 15 shots, but none found the back of the net.
“This was one of those days where everything is just a millimeter short,” said Bridwell. “We hit post, the goalkeeper let the ball through her hands close to the line … Makena (Morris) hit post far down, it just didn’t go in. We had great crosses, great attacking options, and just couldn’t put it in.”
CMR (4-6-0) sealed the victory in the 76th minute when Emily Funseth scored on an assisted effort.
“After pressing so much they had a great shot in the top corner,” said Bridwell. “It was a goal.”
Belgrade wraps up the regular season Thursday at Bozeman. The first round of the postseason begins Oct. 22.
Belgrade boys shut out by CMR
Jeff DeBuse didn’t mince words. Belgrade’s first-year coach noted it was a “rough day” Tuesday at Seible Soccer Park in Great Falls.
The Panthers committed several defensive breakdowns en route to a 4-0 Eastern AA loss to Great Falls CMR.
“Just didn’t play our best game and just really couldn’t execute on our opportunities, and it really cost us,” DeBuse said. “I think all four of their goals were balls in the air that we didn’t step to and then they ended up capitalizing on it.”
Belgrade (0-11-0) was shut out for the second consecutive match and for the seventh time this season. But the team did have a couple of good offensive opportunities after taking nearly a dozen shots.
“Once again hit the crossbar a couple times and had some really good looks,” said DeBuse. “A lot of our shots came from right around the 18 or outside the 18, and I think we only had a few inside the box.”
Belgrade will try to avoid a winless regular season Thursday at defending state champion Bozeman. The Hawks (11-0-0) have already clinched the conference’s No. 1 seed and have a first round bye in the playoffs.
With every team in AA advancing to the postseason this year, DeBuse hopes the Panthers can gain some momentum before competing in their playoff match on Oct. 22.
“In practice we’ve been working a lot on certain things for our new formation, so I hope we’re able to let some of those come out in our play,” he said. “I know Bozeman’s really tough. They’re well coached, they’re a good group of guys, so I’m hoping we just have a good day.”
Eidtor's note: Scoring and stats from the boys match was unavailable.
Great Falls CMR 2, Belgrade 1
Belgrade 1 0 - 1
Great Falls CMR 1 1 - 2
CMR - Rylee Jaraczeski (Hayley Cochran), 5th
Bel - Sarah Tadvik (Dalani Brayton), 29th
CMR - Emily Funseth (unassisted), 76th
Shots: Bel 15, CMR 18. CK: Bel 1, CMR 5. Fouls: Bel 6, CMR 0. Saves: Bel 9 (McKenzie Turner), CMR 7 (Robin Blair).