HELENA – Whitney Morrison scored two goals, one on a key penalty kick in the first overtime, as Missoula Big Sky held off crosstown rival Missoula Sentinel 3-2 in overtime of the semifinals at the Class AA girls soccer tournament on Friday. The Eagles advance to the program’s first state championship game since 1995.
Morrison and Big Sky found themselves down midway through the first half, after Ashley McElmurry assisted for Aisley Allen in the 20th minute. Allen spun, switched feet and booted through a left-footed goal to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
But Morrison quickly answered, attacking down the right side of the field at Siebel Fields, shooting just as the Sentinel keeper slid for a potential steal. Morrison’s goal brought the match to a 1-1 tie at halftime.
Neither team scored in the second half, though each attacked with numerous shots on goal. Allen suffered an injury early in the second 40 minutes, missing the remainder of the match for the Spartans.
The Eagles struck first in the opening overtime, as Mazey Kasberg dribbled left of goal and drew a Sentinel penalty inside the box to set up a penalty kick. Morrison converted, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead just four minutes into the extra time.
Big Sky struck again minutes later, with Morrison centering the ball to TiLynn McGreevey, who reversed possession to Hannah Santamaria on the left side of the field. Santamaria took one step and shot a perfectly placed ball to the right corner of the goal, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead after the first overtime.
Sentinel responded in the second overtime period, as Erica Hege poked an easy score in front of a keeper-less net, but the Spartans never got another shot on goal as Missoula Big Sky advanced 3-2. The Eagles will meet Eastern AA No. 1 seed Billings Skyview in Saturday’s state championship.
The two teams have played in state championship games only three times combined, with Big Sky winning in 1994 and 1995. The Falcons finished runner-up to Billings Senior in 2011.
Saturday’s championship is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.
Eighty minutes wasn’t enough to decide who would play Missoula Big Sky for the Class AA title.
Billings Skyview and Billings West were deadlocked 0-0 at the end of regulation and needed overtime in Friday’s semifinal round. Late in the second overtime period, Jordan Roe cleaned up a miss by teammate Ashlynn Braun to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead and eventually send them to their second Class AA state title game in school history – a loss in 2011 to Billings Senior the program’s other state championship appearance.
West’s defensive style allowed it to stay in the game against Skyview’s potent offense, but the Bears were unable to capitalize when they had the ball deep in Skyview’s half.
Taylor Gertsch was the catalyst to Skyview’s go-ahead goal. Gertsch possessed the ball in the middle of the pitch before finding Braun with a through-ball behind several West defenders. After weaving in and out of two more defenders, Braun’s shot was parried away by Kendall Ellis, but Roe calmly controlled the rebound with one touch before slamming the ball into the back of the net.
Billings Skyview will meet Missoula Big Sky on Saturday afternoon for the Class AA state championship.