HELENA — The 19th annual Shodair Soccer Classic took place Saturday afternoon in Helena. The women’s West team knocked off the East, while the boys East team kept the West from a sweep.
In the women’s game, the west team dominated for the majority of the game, controlling possession throughout. The West had numerous scoring opportunities early in the first half, but were held off by East goalkeeper Kiara Stiles of Billings West.
However, Helena High’s Katie Martin found Kalispell Glacier’s Cadie Williams, Montana’s Gatorade girls soccer player of the year, in the box on a corner kick that Williams headed into the back of the net, giving the West an early 1-0 lead in the first half.
Williams wasn’t done, though. Later in the first half, Williams took a pass from Helena Capital’s Ashley Carlson before depositing it in the back of the net from nearly 20 yards out to give the West a 2-0 lead.
“Our main goal was to take it outside, and so that’s what we were working on. Cadie Williams was there every time, and she’s such a good header, and she finished most of the balls,” Martin said.
Williams would tack on a third goal for the hat trick as time wound down in the second half. The West won 4-1.
“I had a lot of fun playing with girls I never played with, and we just had a blast out there,” Williams said. “(Martin is) a really good player and we worked really well together.”
The boys game provided the drama the girls game did not. Billings Senior’s Charlie Klepps had two goals on the day, but none bigger than his game-winner with just over three minutes to play. Klepps trapped a long pass from Billings Senior teammate Luke Vondra before navigating through traffic and finishing the go-ahead goal.
“Luke Vondra and I have played soccer together for eight years, and he just played a ball in over the top. It was kind of rattling around my knees, the defender slid, rolled over to the right, and I just took a crack at it,” Klepps said.
The East team came out quick, grabbing a 1-0 lead after a goal by Heritage Christian’s Konnor May, but Helena High’s Jackson Keller answered right back with beautiful chip shot over the keeper’s head. Keller also assisted on the West’s final goal.
Klepps ended the first half with an authoritative penalty kick that found the upper right hand corner of the net, giving the momentum to the East as they headed to the break. However, less than one minute into the second half, the West knotted things up. The score stayed tied until Klepps’ goal.
Both Klepps and Williams earned $1,000 checks from Shodair for scoring the game-winning goals.
“Probably scholarship money, that’s what my parents would want me to say anyway,” Klepps laughed afterwards.