A ton of heart wasn’t quite enough for the Butte High girls’ soccer team Tuesday afternoon.
The Bulldog band of walking wounded ran with what Butte High coach Sean Cleverly called the best team in the state Tuesday at the Jeremy Bullock Complex. The Bulldogs, though, didn’t have enough firepower to knock off the Bozeman Hawks, falling 4-1.
Butte High was playing without a handful of injured players, including senior goal keeper Taylor Lovell, who was diagnosed with a concussion after a nasty collision Saturday at Billings West.
The Bulldogs are also missing key players Mijah McLeod, Emily Cleverly and Justyce Connole. Butte High lost Katey Walsh to a leg injury in the first half of Tuesday’s game, too.
“We’re down quite a big, but they played with just a ton of heart,” coach Cleverly said. “They’re playing hard. We’re just under manned.”
Jacey Delaney scored two goals to lead the high-powered Hawks to the win. Bozeman got a goal each from Zore Oberle and Kendyl White.
Kaitlyn Bennett drilled a goal on a direct kick for the Bulldogs, and Butte High trailed just 2-1 at halftime.
“She hit it hard and low, just like we ask,” Cleverly said. “That was a beautiful goal.”
With Lovell out for an undetermined amount of time, the Bulldogs turned All-Stat center midfielder Natalee Faupel to goal keeper.
Faupel, who played despite being sore after a collision with Bozeman’s Averie Collins, played a solid game, Cleverly said. The coach chalked up one goal to a lack of experience at the position.
“We just put that together yesterday. She just plays on natural instincts,” Cleverly said. “We’re lucky to have that, and we’re lucky to have that versatility.”
Cleverly also praised the play Allison Bennett and pointed out that junior varsity player Morgan Bagley played despite not practicing with the varsity squad.
Butte High (0-4-1) is back in action at 5 p.m. Saturday when they play Billings Senior at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.
BELOW: Bozeman’s Averie Collins collides with Butte goal keeper Natalee Faupel during the first half Tuesday. Faupel stayed on the ground briefly before getting up to finish the game. Butte High’s Alberta Dean also defended Collins on the play.