The Hamilton girls notched another win and will play again on Saturday in the Class A soccer playoffs. They will meet Billings Central at noon on the pitch in Hamilton.
“This was a goal I had at the beginning of the season,” said first year coach Kiah Nisly. “To make it through the first round of playoffs and we did it. I’m proud of my team.”
Hamilton came out strongly and played aggressively. They quickly controlled the tempo of the game and got on the scoreboard at nine minutes when Lillia Moore took an assist by Sami Kratofil in for the first goal. Just five minutes later, the Broncs scored again when Brianna Abrahamsen took another ball from Kratofil in for the goal.
“We scored pretty early with two goals early in the first half and so we got to kind of take that deep breath and settle into the game,” said Nisly.
But Hamilton couldn’t really relax. Columbia Falls mounted attack after attack against the Broncs. Bri Huggans and Brianna Abrahamsen kept the pressure on and won ball after ball to keep Hamilton’s momentum.
Although Hamilton’s keeper, Taylor Goligoski, only had four saves, Nisly said it was her play in the box that kept giving Hamilton the advantage.
“The saves aren’t going to reflect how good she was today,” said Nisly. “She kept winning balls in the box that stopped a shot from even happening. She was big time for us.”
Hamilton scored once more at 58 minutes when Abrahamsen and Moore teamed up for a goal.
Billings Central is the reigning Class A champion and have won the championship five times. They defeated Polson, 5-0, to advance to the semi finals and remain undefeated with a 13-0 record. Hamilton has a 12-0-1 record.
The Stevensville boys will host last year’s runner up, Billings Central on Saturday at 3pm. Stevensville’s only blemish on their record is a tie with Corvallis. They have a 12-0-1 record. Billings Central has a 10-1-2.
The Yellowjackets defeated Libby, 3-1, on Saturday in the quarterfinals. The team moved the ball well and kept pressure on the Loggers for most of the match. Payden Belcourt took a Daniel Pendergast assist in for the first goal at 20 minutes. Coach Ralph Serrette said that goal was well executed and one of the best goals his team had scored all year. Sam Giese booted in a penalty kick for another goal at 33 minutes.
Libby’s lone goal came at 37 minutes when Cody Wood bounced the ball off a wall of Stevi players and into the goal.
Chance Coleman scored the final goal of the game at 46 minutes. Joseph Daniels sent Coleman the ball in the middle of a pack of players and Coleman sent the ball straight into the net.
The Stevensville team kept the ball in play and moved it around, keeping Libby in the middle of the field for much of the second half. When they did try to attack, Stevensville keeper Daniel Bradt was right there to stop it. He finished the match with 13 saves. Libby took 14 shots on goal and Stevensville had 23.
Livingston and Belgrade will play in the other semi final match. Belgrade defeated Hamilton, 3-1, to move on.
Belgrade scored early in the match on an unassisted goal by Jeffrey DeBuse. The ball went just left of keeper Casey Ryter’s hands for the score. Three minutes later, Chris Brayton had another unassisted goal for the Panthers. Brayton scored again at 36 minutes to complete the scoring for Belgrade. David Feldmann had Hamilton’s only goal. Ryter had five saves for Hamilton. Belgrade took 12 shots on goal while Hamilton took 16 shots on goal. Belgrade had three corner kicks and Hamilton had six corner kicks.