BILLINGS - Skyview's soccer girls just want to have fun. And they are.
Winning certainly helps, and the Falcons are also doing that. But truth is, Montana's defending Class AA champs are still slightly adjusting... to being AA champs.
"After state, it was really kind of hard to imagine we'd just won state," Falcons forward Julia Mader recalled to MTN Sports. "We had to absorb it for a few days. Then people started congratulating us and there was the banner ceremony, and ever since, then I think we've just been focused on the next season and haven't really been looking too much back."
And looking ahead means bringing some new simple pleasures to the table.
"Well, we just recently started playing the music at practices because we always had them at games," Mader said.
It's always good to go with what works. And, naturally, music leads to singing, and singing often leads to dancing. Who's Skyview's best?
"Oooh, it would have to be me or Mila," laughed Mader, "just because I go so hard. It does not look good most of the time, but I really try hard."
They're all trying hard and it shows. This weekend in Great Falls, the Falcons will try to extend their unbeaten streak to 24 matches.
"Of course we lost some good seniors, but we're just working hard to get that chemistry back and and get in our groove," midfielder Halle Labert said.
The groove was 19 straight wins before settling for a pair of ties this early season against Bozeman and Billings Senior. As for who took the ties harder, coaches or players?"
"You know, I wasn't too beat up over them," said head coach Cam Icenoggle. "I think the players took it harder than I did."
"Everyone, everyone took those hard," Labert said.
Icenoggle saw them as "good motivation."
"A little fuel to the fire never hurts anyone," he conceded.
Skyview answered with a 5-0 shutout over Belgrade. And while the Falcons showcase Montana's 2018 Female Gatorade Player of the Year in Jordan Roe, Labert has been on fire through the first four matches.
"Six goals and an assist in four games, so (she's) finding the back of the net early and often," Icenoggle said.
Labert prefers not to pay close attention.
"I don't like to keep track but my girls make my job easy," she said. "They find me the ball in great places and just support me really well."
Support. That's a secret of success across the board for any team. And Mader keeps a clear-cut reminder of what it can lead to. Her state championship ring.
"Yes, I wear it everywhere," she said smiling. "When I went to go get sponsors, I would show each and every one of them our championship ring so they knew who they were sponsoring."
Now the Falcons are hungry to back it up. Icenoggle's theory?
"I guess, play with the swagger like we've won it all, but work like we haven't," he said. "I think having fun is a big part of it, too. You're going to work harder if you're having fun versus just being drilled to death."