GREAT FALLS - Billings Senior had the task of trying to take down a juggernaut on a blustery Saturday afternoon at Siebel Soccer Park.
But the Bozeman Hawks showed their championship mettle once again.
Bozeman got goals from midfielders Callie Martin and Lauren Hickok on the way to a 2-0 victory over the Broncs in the title game of the State AA girls soccer tournament.
The win gave the Hawks their third consecutive championship and the sixth in school history.
"It feels just as amazing as it has every year," said Hickok, one of 10 seniors on Bozeman's roster. "We just wanted it all."
In a rematch of last year's title match, the loss sent the Broncs home wanting more.
"Bozeman's a great team. They're solid," said Senior coach Megan Parish. "Today they were the better team. We were prepared. We played well. It's just that Bozeman's a great team and they know how to put the ball away."
Martin scored the game's first goal in the 21st minute when she chipped the ball inside the right goalpost to give the Hawks the lead.
Hickok added to Bozeman's advantage 14 minutes into the second half when she cut through the defense and deposited the ball inside the left portion of the frame.
That goal put the game out of reach.
"This is a big accomplishment," said Bozeman forward Britta Hjalmarsson. "We had a whole new team this year and playing up to this level we became so close. Sharing this feeling as a family is really something."
From the outset, the match took on a physical tone. Bodies collided, players crashed to the turf and the teams made do with injuries.
Senior lost sophomore midfielder Alanna Wulf to a right knee injury early in the first half. The Broncs also lost senior forward Jaucelyn Richter a bit before halftime when she violently collided with a Bozeman player at midfield. Richter returned in the second half.
Hjalmarsson limped off the field in the second half as well before re-entering the game late.
"We're both very physical teams, and we expected it today," said Hjalmarsson, who will suit up for the University of Montana next fall. "They were gunning for it just as much as we were. You're going to have some bad clashes out there. But that's soccer."
Bozeman has now won the second-most girls championships in state history, trailing only Helena Capital, which has won eight titles. The Hawks and Bruins are the only two teams to win three consecutive championships.
"It's tremendous. I'm so proud of the way the girls played," said Bozeman coach Erika Cannon. "It's the best soccer I've seen in a long while. They did everything they were supposed to do."
"We knew going in that it was going to be hard to win," said Broncs senior defender Courtney Harvey. "But I'm just proud of our girls. I think everybody gave it all they had and that's all we can ask for."
West finishes third
Billings West completed its comeback through the consolation bracket with a 7-0 trouncing of Kalispell Flathead to earn the tournament's third-place trophy.
Sophomore Sarah Snoozy scored two goals and classmate Danielle Muri added a goal and two assists as the Bears rebounded from a loss to the Bravettes in Thursday's first round.
The win gave West its second consecutive third-place finish.
"We came together and worked as a team, and that's the best feeling," said West sophomore defender Ambri Stein.
"I think we were on top of our distribution and communication in this game," said junior midfielder Katie Baum. "That's what really helped in the win. I think we had the whole package."
Looking ahead to next season, the Bears will potentially return their whole team. That prospect has West thinking big already.
"Especially with how much the level of play improved throughout the season," said West coach John Dorr. "We were playing much better soccer at the end. Hopefully that will carry over."