Butte High’s soccer teams suffered a pair of losses to Billings West Saturday at the Bulldogs
The Golden Bears won the boys’ game 4-1 and the girls’ game 4-0.
Bulldog coach Eric Zahler said the score of the boys’ game wasn’t as bad as it might look.
West jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Alex Michaelson goals before Bulldog reserve Caleb Cook got a rebound and found the back of the net for a Butte High goal in the game’s 58th minute.
Butte High’s attempt to tie the game, though, was sidetracked when the Bulldogs were called for a controversial penalty that awarded West and penalty kick at the 75th minute.
Lucas Gerbasi knocked in the PK, and Cody Gagnon knocked in a goal on a Gerbasi assist in the 80th minute as Butte High put more players in the attack.
“It was a real momentum killer,” Zahler said of the PK.
Despite the loss, which keeps the Bulldogs winless on the season, Zahler liked the way his team played.
“I would say we dominated possession,” Zahler said. “We were really moving the ball. We were getting the ball into the box, we just didn’t finish. We’ve just got to learn to pull the trigger.”
Zahler praised the play of Cook, a sophomore who has been earning more and more minutes as the season progresses.
“It was scrappy play from a really tough, scrappy kid,” Zahler said.
Zahler also had good things to say about Travis Williams, who battled throughout the match despite being under the weather.
“He showed a lot of heart,” the coach said.
Despite a couple of shots that got over the top, Zahler also said his back line play was solid for most of the game. Goalkeeper Erik Rosa saved eight shots.
“We’ll keep playing and we’ll keep fighting,” Zahler said. “We’ll get a win this year. I know we will.”
On the girls’ side, Butte High coach Kevin Petritz pointed a finger at himself for the loss.
“I was slow to make some coaching adjustments,” Petritz said. “If I would have made an adjustment or two we could have stopped the bleeding.”
Madison Marlenee registered a hat trick, while Shaylee Addington booted a goal for the Bears. The score was 3-0 at halftime and Marlenee’s third goal made it 4-0 three minutes into the second half.
The Bulldogs cut off the scoring for the final 37 minutes.
“We did some good things,” Petritz said. “We got some pretty decent looks in the second half.”
Petritz pointed to the play of Jessica Rosa in the middle, Ali Gonzales off the bench, Mijah McLeod “all over the place” and Camile McEwen as bright spots for the Bulldogs.
Allison Collins saved nine shots in goal.
“That one is on me. The girls deserve better,” Petritz said. “I’ll learn from this and we’ll move on.”
The Bulldogs will be at home again on Thursday, when Butte High celebrates Senior Day against Great Falls High.
Billings West 1 3 — 4
Butte Hight 0 1 — 1
West: Alex Michaelson (Bryson Stein), 30:00
West: Michaelson (Jory Abelman), 42:00
Butte: Caleb Cook, 58:00
West: Lucas Gerbasi (PK), 75:00
West: Cody Gagnon (Gerbasi), 80:00
Saves: West 5 (Ryan Cornwall), Butte 8 (Erik Rosa)
Billings West 3 1 — 4
Butte High 0 0 — 0
West: Shaylee Addington (Lauren Cornwall), 10:00
West: Madison Marlenee, 20:00
West: Marlenee (Addington), 31:00
West: Marlenee (Cornwall), 43:00
Saves: Butte (Allison Collins 9), West (Maia Wetzel 1)