BOZEMAN — Despite the overtime loss in the Class AA state semifinals to Kalispell Glacier, the Bozeman Hawks girls soccer team persevered through every obstacle thrown at it this year just to get to that point.
“It was really tough because we worked so hard and we’ve overcome a lot of barriers," said Hawks senior Ana Schell. "We really gelled as a team this season and it’s really hard to know all of that really hard work just didn’t cut it (Tuesday), but I’m proud of everybody and I know that we’re strong and we’re going to be great. So, I’m proud of us.”
“It was just tough because I think the girls overcame so much this season. The team was just stepping up for each other," said Bozeman coach Erika Cannon. "There was big injuries and little injuries, there was COVID and there was all these different things that factored in and they never gave up, and that was what was really impressive.”
But it was perseverance that led them deep into the AA playoffs.
“The one word I can think of for this team is just perseverance," said senior Payton Putnam. "I think that we’ve gone through so much this season just because of COVID, injuries, losing teammates (to injuries), Addi (Ekstrom), just everything. I think everything that has happened to us we just continued to persevere, get better. To make it to the semifinal with everything that’s happened is just amazing to me and I couldn’t have asked for more from any of them.”
Schell played through ligament tears in her elbow and Putnam played through a significant hamstring injury. As seniors in their possible final game, they wanted to give everything they had to help the team they love.
“We’re good, hurts a lot but I’m sticking it out because I know that I want to be a part of this amazing team," Schell said.
“It’s just been a great four years all on varsity," Putnam said. "I met a lot of friends and I made a lot of lifelong friendships with this team. I’m just happy for everyone, I’m happy I spent my last season with all of them.”
That’s because after all they went through from the rough start to begin the season to the semifinals, they became a family.
"We just flowed really well together and we all get along," said Schell. "It’s a family now, we’re a family. It’s just been great to come from a little bit of a rocky start here.”
A family that Schell looks forward to watching next year.
“I’m excited to watch them grow and see where they go next year and I’m just excited to root them on from the sideline from wherever I am,” Schell said.