MISSOULA — The powerhouse lacrosse programs from Bozeman looked right at home in Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Sunday. The girls and boys teams both won state championships, each capturing their third straight title.
The Bozeman girls finished an undefeated season with their final win. They met Missoula Hellgate in the final. A goal by Ella Roe early in the second half put the champs up 7-3. The hosts came back with two goals by Sidney Triepke to close the gap to two. But Sydney Rogers responded by picking up a loose ball and cutting in front to score, and Bozeman scored the final three goals to pull away for an 11-5 victory.
“I am a big believer in failure is how you learn, so when you go through a season and you haven’t been challenged and you haven’t faced a loss, there’s a big concern going into a game like this,” admitted head coach Molly Pickall. “Will we be emotionally tough enough, strong enough? Hellgate is always a great competitor in the state finals. We love playing against them because they come out so hard. These girls really rose to the challenge.”
Later in the day, the Bozeman boys pulled away early in their final. The champs took on the Western division champion Glacier Lacrosse Club, a team made up of players from Kalispell and Bigfork high schools. Bozeman quickly jumped out to a 5-1 lead with Ethan Zwickey playing outstanding in goal. The margin grew to 11-3 before Glacier made a little run, but it was too little, too late as Bozeman won the championship 12-6.
Bozeman divides into two varsity teams. The red squad finished with yet another title despite plenty of change.
“It’s been a real tough challenge for us,” said head coach Ben Heisey. “New coaching staff this year, bringing in some new concepts. It was hard to keep ourselves focused sometimes. Going for three in a row is not easy in any sport. I’m really proud of these guys for pulling it together and doing it.”