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One Last Ride: Billings Central girls excited for cross-state bus trip with title on line

Billings Central soccer
Posted at 3:37 PM, Oct 28, 2022

BILLINGS — The Billings Central girls will play in their 13th title game in 15 years Saturday in Whitefish. But this senior class hasn't won one yet, and that's not the only history they'll need to overcome.

"I do not like thinking about that game," said senior midfielder Lauren Dull.

Dull doesn't have good memories of Central's last trip to Smith Fields in Whitefish in 2020. Neither does senior defender Lily Bland.

"I got a red card in the game. That was hard," Bland said.

Central lost 1-0 on that day in the State A semifinals. They got some revenge last year with a 5-1 win over Whitefish in Billings, but lost the next week in the title game to rival Laurel — the same fate they suffered as freshmen in 2019.

Now, Central’s seven seniors have one more shot to win a championship, something every senior class since 2008 has done at least once.

"Obviously everyone wants it, and there’s a lot of pressure," Bland admitted.

The ironic part about this group is that traveling the nearly 500 miles this weekend may be the best possible solution.

"We're super excited to go on the bus trip together and spend that quality time as a team," Dull said.

"One last hurrah, stay in the hotel room with my teammates and friends," Bland added. "I'm just so excited."

"They’re so close. They're such a cohesive unit," head coach Nolan Trafton said. "When you go to Whitefish, you can’t get any farther away."

The numbers say it should be a close game. Central and Whitefish are the top two offenses and top two defenses in the state. And while Central’s three-year title drought seems paltry compared to Whitefish’s 15, the Rams know four would feel like an eternity.

"The past three years haven’t gone the way we wanted them to," Dull said, "and this is our time to show who Central really is and what we’re about."