Connor English, Billings Senior goalkeeper
Q: You look like you’ve put on a little bulk this year.
A: “I put on about 10 pounds in about a month this summer. Doing lots of plyometrics. I’ve always been told by college coaches I have the right build so I’ve been trying to get a little bit stronger, more athletic.”
Q: You’ve transferred from Billings Central to Senior. First impressions of AA soccer?
A: “Everybody can trap and pass. The speed of the play is so much quicker.”
Q: What are the challenges of playing with a new back line?
A: “It’s not too bad, because I’ve played in Magic City soccer with all the people in the back line, except for Wes Currance, who’s a freshman this year. But he meshes well with everybody, so it makes the transition pretty easy.”
Q: Last season the Broncs lost the State AA title match on penalty kicks. You up for that this year?
A: “I would prefer not to go into PKs. But if it happened, I’d be up for it.”
WEST, SENIOR HAVE DEEP SOCCER CONNECTION
Megan Parish and Crystal McCamis approached Tuesday night’s match between their respective girls soccer programs with the same feeling of dread.
Neither was looking forward to a meeting that featured a pair of coaches who walked the same sideline at Senior for five years. McCamis was an assistant on Parish’s staff until this season, when McCamis took over the West program. Next thing she knows, McCamis is high-fiving her former Senior players during Tuesday’s pregame introductions.
“It was kind of mixed emotions,” McCamis said following Senior’s 1-0 win over her Golden Bears. “Of course, I want the best for them, but my allegiance is with West now and I want to win. It’s a great honor to lead these girls. They’re hard workers and they’re willing to do anything I ask of them, so it’s a great position for me to be in.”
Parish, in her sixth season at Senior, is glad the first meeting is over. But it won’t make the subsequent matches with West and McCamis any easier.
“It’s a game I’ve been dreading for a while,” Parish said. “She’s a good friend.”
In Tuesday’s preliminary boys match, Marco Rosales was in a similar position as McCamish. A four-year letterwinner who graduated from Senior in 2007 and who helped the Broncs win their last State AA title in 2004, Rosales is guiding the Golden Bears in his first season at West. His Bears tallied a late goal on Tuesday to draw 1-1 with the Broncs.
“Once the game started, it was all about West High,” Rosales said. “I enjoyed my days at Senior, but this is definitely a new chapter.”
NOTES: Longtime volleyball coaches Jeff Carroll of Senior and Iona Stookey of Huntley Project have had fairly symmetrical careers, considering they’ve built pre-eminent programs in their respective classes. But how about this: Both entered play this week with 587 career wins. … Billings Central’s girls soccer team isn’t just off to a perfect start: It’s a dominating start. The four-time Class A champion (4-0-0) has outscored its opponents 26-0.
Billings Public Schools Meet, Thursday, Briarwood: Senior’s Kortney McNeil tries to earn medalist honors for the third consecutive meet. West’s girls have won last two team titles.
Bozeman at Senior, Amend Park, 1 p.m., Saturday: Both schools’ squads are 2-0-0, so early-season perfection is at stake for the teams figured to be fighting it out for the Eastern AA title. The boys teams also play at 1 p.m.
Huntley Project (5-0, 1-0 entering this week) at Red Lodge (4-0, 0-0), Saturday: The District 4B rivals, who have met each of the last three seasons in the State B championship match, get reacquainted.