A pair of head soccer coaches left a soggy south field on the Butte High campus feeling good Friday night.
Butte High’s boys’ and girls’ teams played their annual Purple and White scrimmages, and passing grades were handed out all around.
“I thought it was great,” Butte High second-year Kevin Petritz said. “We’re aces ahead of where we were last year.”
Boys coach Eric Zahler, who is entering his fourth year leading the Bulldog boys, had similar praise for his team.
“It looked good,” he said. “I saw a lot of good things today.”
After a short delay because of lighting and a funnel cloud — yes, a funnel cloud — Butte High’s girls got the show started.
The team played to a scoreless tie with a heavy rain storm looming in the distance.
“I told them not score,” Petritz said with a laugh. “I don’t want anybody to know who are players are.”
The Bulldogs were missing three players, including starter MacKenzie Collins, because they were on a weekend vacation. Also missing were Allison Collins and Julia Swendberg.
Butte High has four seniors — keeper Maria Michelloti, Olivia Laramie, Justyce Connole and Allison Bennet — to go along with a strong group of juniors.
Marki Daunehaur, a junior, and sophomore Camile McEwen and Bennet stood out in the scrimmage, the coach said.
“Marki Daunenhauer played pretty well. Allison Bennet looked really good, and Camile McEwen played great.”
Michelotti was also strong as she begins her second year in net.
“I have no concerns at goal, and I have no concerns at back,” Petritz said. “I have some scoring concerns this year. Who’s going to be my scores. MacKenzie Collins looks like she can plug that hole a little bit. Justyce Connole is going to put some away for us.”
There was no shortage of scoring in the boys’ game.
The White team outscored the Purple 6-2 in a match that was played through heavy rain and hail.
Sophomore Kyle Rauch scored three goals to lead the White. Classmate Brock Powell added two goals, while senior Gradeigh O’Keefe added a goal for the White.
Senior Marcus Madrazo scored two goals for the Purple.
Zahler spit up his team to make the purple strong offensively and the white strong defensively.
“Unfortunately our defense beat our offense,” Zahler said.
Overall, though, the coach was happy.
“We saw defenders get up in the attack, things we’ve been working on,” he said. “We saw them test the keeper from distance, and we talked about that all tryouts long. We had some good combination plays with our forwards.”
Zahler said his offense has some potential.
“I knew our defense was strong going into today. I knew they were going to get up into the attack,” he said. “Offensively we’ve been working on getting more dynamic, making quicker touches, more one touches shorter passes. We’re not trying spring people over the top all the time.”
The Bulldogs, who are coming off a trip to the Class AA state tournament. The team that features 12 seniors is hungry to get back there.
“When we got on the bus leaving the state tournament, the set a goal and it was simply to get back, ” Zahler said. “You can tell that they worked out in the offseason, and they came in in shape.”
Butte High’s 12 seniors are Madrazo, Loeffler, O’Keefe, Brett Sehulster, Jacob Sholey, Jacob Williams, Conor Powers, Jacob Seilman, Blake Casagranda, Lucas Tenney, Sam Maloney and Seth Jaksha.
It is the first class that spent all four years with Zahler, who coached the girls before switching to the boys’ program.
“This is my class,” Zahler said.
The Bulldog boys and girls open the season next Saturday at the Great Falls Jamboree. 3 comments