It could have been better for the Butte High girls’ soccer team Thursday afternoon at the Jeremy Bullock Complex.
It could have also been a whole lot worse.
Senior Natalee Faupel tapped in a left-footed goal off a nice pass from junior Mikaela Alne in the 70th minute as the Bulldogs battled Great Falls High to a 1-all tie in the season opener.
“Mikaela Alne made a great crossing pass, a little slip pass,” Butte High coach Sean Cleverly said.
The Bulldogs went on the attack the final 10 minutes, and Faupel saw too good looks killed by nice saves by Mary McDunn.
“It’s a nice way to start the season, without a loss,” Cleverly said. “A win would have been better, but it beats the alternative.”
After scoreless first half that saw the Bulldogs on the attack much of the first 40 minutes, the Bison took the lead on a Taytum WIdseth two minutes after the break. Callee Remsen assisted on the play.
“It’s heartbreaking to come out of that with a tie,” Cleverly said. “But — but — when they got on us, I was so happy we didn’t fold our tent. We stayed with them and took advantage of our opportunity.”
Cleverly said his team’s shape helped the Bulldogs battle back to tie the score.
“I’ve been telling these girls since Aug. 13, ‘We’re going to condition. We’re not going to lose matches because we’re not in shape,'” Cleverly said. “I think it showed here today that their conditioning for the first game of the season was good.”
The coach praised the play of Alne, Faupel, sophomore Allison Bennett and Aidan Amtmann.
The Bulldogs were playing without injured senior starter Emily Cleverly, who has to pass the concussion test before she can rejoin the team. Sophomore Justyce Connole, a key bench player, also sat out. Cleverly said Connole has a knee injury that could keep her out four weeks.
The Bulldogs are back in action against Great Falls Russell at 1 p.m. Saturday in Great Falls.