Bozeman seemed to keep coming and coming at Billings Skyview’s girls soccer team during the second half Saturday afternoon. With the constant pressure, perhaps it was inevitable the Falcons finally broke down.
The Hawks scored twice in the final 10 minutes to beat Skyview 3-1 in an Eastern AA showdown between what’s expected to be two of the better teams in the state.
The Falcons have high hopes after reaching the state semifinals last season, when they lost 2-0 to the Hawks. Bozeman was runner-up, losing 1-0 to Great Falls CMR in the title game.
“Maybe we got a little tired there in the second half,” Skyview coach John Wisler said. “I thought we played really well until we broke down there the last 10 minutes. … I was proud of them for the first game. The last 10 minutes, we maybe dropped our heads a little bit.”
It was indeed the first game of the season for the Falcons, who saw two games canceled last weekend because of smoke in Helena. Bozeman had played twice, including a 1-1 tie Thursday against Billings West.
The Hawks scored the game’s first goal in the 15th minute, with Alexa Coyle finishing off a feed in front from Brooke Springer.
Skyview answered in the 22nd minute, a goal by Nicole Guenthner off a cross from Justine Roe.
“We played hard, but they’re a very good team,” Guenthner said. “They’ve had a few more games under their belt, which helps them. We just played hard the entire time and overall I think we did a good job.”
The game remained scoreless for nearly the next 50 minutes after Skyview tied it. That’s not to say there weren’t chances.
Skyview junior Aubrey Braun had a solid shot on goal late in the first half and nearly scored again early in the second half on a header. She also had a shot midway through the second half but the Falcons weren’t able to put home a rebound.
From that point, the Hawks controlled the game. During an eight-minute stretch, a shot by Coyle was stopped by diving Falcons keeper Summer Samsel, Elaine Chandler hit the post and Sydney Rollison missed a wide-open net.
The Hawks finally grabbed the lead in the 70th minute, a free kick by Julia Kaiser that sailed out of reach of Samsel and was put into the back of the net by Rollison. Four minutes later, Coyle scored her second goal on an assist by Kaiser.
“It was hard to break their defense and they did a good job of making it hard for us,” Bozeman coach Erika Cannon said. “We kept persevering. We kept trying to get it in there and tried a bunch of different ways. We were finally able to get that one and got another one right away.”
Bozeman’s boys also scored two goals in the second half to beat Skyview 3-1.
The Hawks scored the first goal just six minutes in before the Falcons tied it 1-1 on a penalty-kick goal by Ryne Icenoggle.