Soccer Ball

While Belgrade lost its 12th consecutive match Thursday, the team gained a much-needed boost heading into the postseason.

The Panthers snapped a four-match scoring drought in a 3-2 Eastern AA defeat against Billings Skyview. The Falcons won the previous contest in mid-September 6-0.

Skyview (7-5-2) had taken a 2-0 lead early in the second half. But the Panthers finally got on the scoreboard on a goal by Peyton Robertson.

“It was 2-0 but we kept sticking to our guns,” Belgrade head coach Carl Bridwell said. “Did what we do best, passing and switching the point of attack, and in the wind Peyton had a looping shot that their keeper bobbled in the 13th minute of the second half.”

The Falcons answered three minutes later to stretch the lead back to two. But in less than a minute Belgrade scored its second goal off the foot of Abbie Morin.

“We were switching in our back line and a mistake was made and they pounced,” Bridwell said of Skyview’s third goal. “A minute from the kickoff Peyton sent a long ball and Abbie Morin pressured their forward, won it, and slotted it into the back post.”

The Panthers had opportunities over the final 20 minutes but were unable to notch the equalizer.

“We just did have the legs to really pressure in the last 15-20 minutes of the game,” said Bridwell. “But it was good to break that scoring drought for sure.”

It was just the fifth match in which Belgrade has scored a goal this season. The team has been shut out nine times and scored just eight goals.

But the effort provides the Panthers, who finished as the league’s No. 7 seed, with confidence heading into Tuesday’s playoff match. Belgrade will travel to No. 2 Gallatin.

The Raptors (9-1-4) won both regular season contests, but the Oct. 9 match was just a two-goal victory after they had won the first 8-0.

“We’re a little beat up, but the fact that we finished in a way that we were playing attacking soccer and found the back of their net to do so, it gives us that underdog mentality that we’ve kind of tried to gain since our really bad loss to Billings West at the beginning of the season,” said Bridwell. “We had a really great game against Gallatin (Oct. 9). We out-possessed them, we outshot them, so we’re excited about it.”

Belgrade boys shut out Skyview

Gavin Snajdr and Will Mauritsen each scored a goal Thursday to lead Belgrade to a 2-0 Eastern AA victory against Billings Skyview.

It was the fourth win of the season, which is the most since the program moved up to Class AA in 2019. It also eclipses last year’s three-win campaign.

“Very good for morale,” Belgrade head coach Dr. Robert Lemley said. “Good boost heading to our playoff game on Tuesday.”

Belgrade (4-7-3) finished as the league’s No. 6 seed and will travel to No. 3 Gallatin (9-5-0) Tuesday.

After beginning the season with a 1-5-1 record, the Panthers lost jut two of their final seven matches. While one of those defeats was to Gallatin on Oct. 9, Lemley feels good about how the team is playing heading into the postseason.

“Tonight was about keeping what’s at stake and we had kind of a message the whole season that we wanted to be competitive and we wanted to surprise,” he said. “We didn’t want to be considered the underdog, we wanted to send a message to the conference that Belgrade brings really strong soccer, and I think we proved that by finishing on that 2-0 win tonight.”

Snadjr scored the Panthers’ first half goal off an assist from Noah Russell and then Will Mauritsen scored late in the second half to secure the victory. It was Mauritsen’s team-leading 12th goal.

“Had a pretty dominant half,” said Lemley. “Our second half was a little closer, but we were still able to find the back of the net with about 10 minutes left in the game.”

Boys

Belgrade 2, Billings Skyview 0

Belgrade        1  1  -  2

Skyview        0  0  -  0

Bel - Gavin Snadjr (Noah Russell)

Bel - Will Mauritsen (Eli Collins)

Girls

Billings Skyview 3, Belgrade 2

Belgrade        0  2  -  2

Skyview        1  2  -  3

BS - Sydney Robbins (Kylie Swanton)

BS - Charlize Davis (Isabel Schauber)

Bel - Peyton Robertson (unassisted)

BS - Swanton (Isabel Schauber)

Bel - Abbie Morin (Robertson)

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