MISSOULA — The Garden City played host to a pair of Class AA semifinal soccer matches on Tuesday, with both Missoula schools advancing to the state championship round.
Missoula Sentinel's girls defeated Billings West 4-3 on penalty kicks after a scoreless regulation and overtime, while Missoula Hellgate's boys topped West 2-1 as well.
The girls game was a defensive battle with Sentinel keeper Kassidy Kirgan and West goalkeeper Maria Ackerman playing well throughout the game. West had a pair of second-half chances bounce off of the post and crossbar that could've sealed the game late.
In the end, Sentinel won on penalty kicks, with Kirgan knocking home the final PK attempt for the Spartans, and then getting in goal and stopping West's final attempt to seal the win. It's the first time since 2015 that Sentinel has advanced to the state championship game, and they'll play either Bozeman Gallatin or Helena High for the title on Saturday.
In the boys game, Hellgate struck immediately with a goal by Curtis Stevens. West came close to tying it a couple of times, but the Knights ultimately went into half up 1-0.
Henry Pierce added a goal off of a header in the 54th minute to make it 2-0 Hellgate, but West quickly responded as Loren Rogge scored on a lob by Ryan Kirschmann to trim the deficit, but that was as close as they got as Hellgate advanced to its ninth straight Class AA state title game. The Knights are the three-time defending state champion.
For full highlights from both games, check out the video above.