BILLINGS – Odds are good this weekend that state tournament soccer hardware will make its way toward the Magic City. Between Billings and Laurel, eight soccer teams are in contention to win a championship Saturday.
Billings Skyview enters as the Class AA girls favorite. The Falcons are merely three wins away from turning this into a Blue October. Coach Cameron Icenoggle told MTN Sports a couple weeks ago that his goal was to ‘paint Billings blue.’ Check. Icenoggle’s Falcons not only swept the Billings teams, at 12-0 this is their best-ever regular season. And it’s not like their matches have been close. Skyview’s girls have outscored this season’s opponents 57-3. Nine of those were shutouts.
The field also includes girls from West and Senior. The Bears have earned a No. 3 seed by one point over the Broncs. West had four ties this season, Senior had four losses and there’s your difference.
All three Billings AA boys teams are also tournament-bound. Senior and West actually tied for second in the conference, but Senior won on the tie-breaker. The Broncs beat West in both regular-season meetings by identical 2-0 finals.
Skyview’s boys finished fourth in the conference but might enter with the most momentum. The Falcons have won four of their past five matches, with the other a tie. Skyview could be a sleeper, although it has to open against Missoula Hellgate, Montana’s three-time reigning State AA champion. That said, odds are Skyview would have to face the Knights eventually, so why not catch them early in on with fresh legs?
Then there were two — on the Class A girls field. We’ll just call Billings Central and Laurel the usual suspects.
This is the fourth consecutive year they’ve squared off in a championship match. They’ll play it Saturday on Central’s field, which is where Laurel won last year’s title.
The Rams and Locomotives have combined to win Montana’s past 10 State A girls championships and couldn’t be more evenly matched this time around. They own identical 12-1-1 records. Their only losses are to one another, with each home team winning.
Take your pick of Laurel players to keep an eye on. Their defenders are terrific and their scoring is balanced.
As for Central, another balanced team. But look out for Morgan Ferestad. She’s No. 2 on the roster but No. 1 in scoring this season with 38 goals. For those not familiar with soccer, that’s an outrageous number.