Senior blanks Butte High in close girls’ soccer match

Senior blanks Butte High in close girls’ soccer match

By Bruce Sayler

Billings Senior might have only been readier earlier than Butte High on Saturday. The Broncs used the early jump to motor on to its 2-0 Eastern AA Conference win over Butte High at the Jeremy Bullock Memorial Soccer Fields.

Olivia Abdullah tallied in the first minute off an assist from Paige Hatzenbihler, thumping a hard shot from close-in squarely in front of the goal. The shot happened too fast to defend.

However, it was the only goal Billings Senior was to get for the remainder of the half.

“Our energy to start the game was not the greatest and we paid for it,” Kevin Petritz, head coach of the Bulldogs, said. “But, we’re starting to see a change in the program, which I’m happy about. We wound up with having two or three opportunities to score to close out the first half, which I like.”

The Butte High players enjoyed a player advantage near the goal on a couple of chances, then saw their best opportunity slip away when the ball rolled out of a scrum into Bronc possession. Players had fallen and piled into a heap in front of an open goal, but none of the Bulldogs was able to get off a kick.

Petritz exhorted his players to leave the energy level on high after intermission, to guard against the letdown that, he said, has often plagued the Butte High girls upon return from the break.

The effort remained strong.

The defense denied a couple of Bronc shots from the side range, and keeper Allison Collins came up with a save on a power sbot from point blank.

Billings Senior, however, managed to knock in a second goal  while also keeping the Bulldogs off of the scoreboard. The goal was a corner kick by Laura Zimmer from an assist by Sarah Maynard. It was notched in the 64th minute. Billings Senior keeper Kirby Haggerty then seemingly wrapped Bulldog repellant around the goal the rest of the way. Butte High tried some good attempts, but none cleared inside the pipes.

“We moved the ball well,” Petritz said. “Camille McEwen was fantastic in the middle for us, Ally Cleverly was fantastic at the center, our keeper — Allie Collins — was great and Lexi Kautzman  did a great job on the outside.”
Even with the loss, though, Petritz was upbeat about the way the team performed.

“We’re playing our best soccer, now, which is what you want going into the playoffs,” he enthused.

Butte High stands at 1-9-1 in conference play and 1-11-1 for the season. The Bulldogs will celebrate Senior Parents Day on Thursday in a home match against Bozeman. The team’s three seniors — McEwen, Genna Gardner and Jori Sholey — will be honored along with their parents. It will be their home finale. Petritz said the likely scenario has Butte High traveling to Great Falls High for the first round of the playoffs next week.

The win moved Billings Senior to 5-3-1 in Eastern AA.


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