By Bruce Sayler
The daylong rain was dreary enough on Tuesday, but no luck brought no rainbows, either, for the Butte High girls’ soccer team.
The Bulldogs were shut out 8-0 by Missoula Sentinel in a Western AA Conference contest at the Jeremy Bullock Memorial Soccer Fields. It was Butte High’s home opener.
“The first half was the best soccer we’ve played all year,” Jacob Steilman, first-year head coach of the Bulldogs, said. “But, we were about as unlucky as we could be.”
Butte High trailed Sentinel 3-0 at halftime with the Spartans scoring first from in close by Ainsley Allen while regular Buldog goalkeeper Haley Herron was being treated for an injury. Then Aiden Ortt broke free while another Bulldog defender was injured in the 27th. The third goal came after a call on wet-field collision gave Sentinel’s Faith Marshall a penalty kick in the 36th minute. Marshall looped her shot in just under the crossbar, barely too high for Haley Herron, a sterling goalie, to reach.
“We had some bad luck and then we didn’t react well to it,” Steilman said. “We got down (emotionally).”
Much of the match was played on the Butte High end as Sentinel showed good depth. The Spartans struck for three quick goals in earlier moments of the second half as Bulldog misfortunes continued.
Allen’s strike saw a ball slickened by the rained-on turf slip through the goalie’s hands for a score in the 43rd minute and then Kat Colyer herded an escaped grounder into the net for the fifth goal about a minute later. A couple minutes later, Allen registered her hat trick with a fake to the right and kick from the left. Sentinel led 6-0.
The Spartans finished the scoring on a shot from front-center by Reese Meyer in the 69th minute, and on a finish by Jayden Salisbury, who used her torso to bump in a corner kick from Meghan Caldwell in the 78th.
Steilman said the play of Herron, Lizzy Laliker and Christiana Beierle shined in the match. Beierle left early with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. He said the team showed positives on which to build.
The loss put the Bulldogs at 0-4, overall and in Western AA play. They are to play at Missoula Big Sky on Thursday in another league contest.
Steilman said the team needs to remain positive and learn to overcome adversity.
“Our first three games, we just weren’t good enough,” he said. “We were good enough, today. We just didn’t react well to the bad luck,”