HELENA — Missoula Sentinel and Bozeman got things under way at the 2018 girls State AA soccer tournament in Helena with a thrilling overtime finish.
Tied at 2-2 in the first overtime period, Sentinel’s Caitlin Brugh broke free to the front of the net, but Bozeman goalkeeper A.J. Battle came off her line to poke the ball free. However, the ball rebounded perfectly to the right leg of Ashley McElmurry, who deposited it into the back of the net to give the Spartans a 3-2 lead. That score stood as the final.
McElmurry’s go-ahead goal gave the Spartans their first lead of the game. Bozeman struck first, though, when Katie Hayes buried a penalty kick in the 30th minute. Sentinel tied it up in the 32nd minute on a goal by Brittany Burman, but Hayes had more in her arsenal. After spinning around a defender, Hayes let loose with her right foot from the right corner of the box and found just enough space above the keeper’s fingers to sneak it in, giving Bozeman a 2-1 lead in the 61st minute.
But again, Sentinel answered. The Spartans tied things up at 2 in the 64th minute when congestion in front of the net was friendly to Sentinel. After McElmurry’s shot was blocked by the keeper, Aisley Allen came in to clean up the rebound, slamming the ball into the net with authority.
With the win, Missoula Sentinel moves on to the semifinals to face Missoula Big Sky Friday afternoon. Bozeman moves into loser-out action where it will take on Billings Senior on Friday morning.
Hannah Santamaris scored a pair of goals and assisted on another to lead the Missoula Big Sky Eagles to a 3-0 win over Billings Senior in the first round. Big Sky entered as the No. 1 seed out of the West and will move on to the semifinals to face the West No. 3 Missoula Sentinel.
Kalispell Flathead scored the opening goal, a long rainbow over the goalkeeper’s head by Skyleigh Thompson, but Billings Skyview calmly rallied. The Falcons got goals from Sommer Walker and Jordan Roe in the final 10 minutes of the first half to take a 2-1 lead at the break. Ashlyn Braun added a goal in the 50th minute to extend the lead to 3-1. Flathead scored in the 78th minute when Chloe Nadeau found her way to the front of the net, but Roe finished things off with a goal in the 79th minute. Skyview moves on to the semifinals to face a familiar foe, Billings West.
Billings West came out of the gates firing, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the 6th minute on a goal by Amaya Winkler. West would carry that lead into the halftime break, but Missoula Hellgate tied the game in the 48th minute on a goal by Clara Tallant. The two teams remained tied late into the contest, but West capitalized on a late opportunity. Seeing the keeper slightly off her line, Melissa Dugger fired from outside the box. Hellgate’s keeper was able to get her hand on the ball but couldn’t keep it front finding the net. The 77th-minute goal gave West the victory, advancing the Golden Bears to the semifinals to face Billings Skyview.