By Bill Foley
Butte High’s girls’ soccer team just could not buy a break Tuesday afternoon at a rainy, windy Jeremy Bullock Complex.
A slip and a couple of bad bounces led to Helena Capital goals, and the Bruins completed the regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs with a 6-0 Western AA victory.
Capital’s scoring began when Bulldog keeper Kaylee LaPier charged the ball just outside of the box. She attempted to kick the ball away as Capital’s Lilly Danzer approached.
As she kicked, though, LaPier slipped, and she barely hit the ball. She also left the net exposed, and Danzer made the Bulldogs pay.
“On that first one, she read it absolutely perfect,” Butte High coach Steve Shahan said of LaPier. “She was just kind of in between steps on some wet grass.”
That goal came after Butte High had kept the game scoreless for the first 25 minutes.
A little more than a minute later, Taylor Cornwell scored to make it 2-0. Capital extended the lead to 3-0 wen Lauren Hoxie broke away for a goal seconds before halftime.
“We did a lot of good stuff. We had a little confusion on our rotation and our tactics in the middle,” Shahan said. “We did a good job for a while there pressuring them. When we had that confusion, we let them have space in the midfield and kind of pick us apart for a little big. But we got back to what we were trying to do.”
Gracie Mockel scored four minutes into the second half, and Danzer booted a goal just over the tipped fingers of LaPier to make it 5-0 with 24 minutes, 37 seconds left in the game.
Capital added on a Cornwell goal inside the final 2 minutes.
Butte High got offensive in the second half, but the Bulldogs could just not quite finish. Maddy LaPier made a scoring run, Aydin Gonzales got a couple of scoring chances, and Emma Quist played what Shahan called “a couple of good threw balls.”
“We got a couple of scoring chances at the end, a couple of nice runs and connections,” the coach said.
Other Bulldogs who contributed to Butte High’s effort were Taylor Burke, Kierra Case, Kali Burke, Aurora Kemper, Kenzie Jaksha, Elli Quist, Hayla Hoffman, Haylie Williams, Autumn Sil, Catherine Sholey, Kandel Kovnesky, Jesse LaPier and Jozi Daugherty.
Shahan pointed to the play of Kaylee LaPier, who has settled in nicely at the keeper position.
“Kaylee played amazing,” the coach said. “She had a ton of really good saves. If you look at where we were with our keepers two or three weeks ago, they would have had 10 goals in 35 minutes. Instead, we’re competing for the full 80 minutes.”
In Montana prep soccer, games are called when a team has a 10-goal lead. Butte High suffered a few 10-0 losses early in the season.
Butte High is still winless in 10 chances this season, but Shahan said he likes what he is seeing from his team.
“All I expect is a great attitude and effort,” he said. “We just want to get a little bit better. If you do that consistently, then good things happen.”
The Bulldogs are back in action Saturday when they travel to Helena High. Butte High’s next home match is Oct. 14 against Kalispell Glacier.