WHITEFISH — The Whitefish boys and Columbia Falls girls soccer teams closed their regular seasons on Thursday, getting important wins over their rivals.
The boys kicked off the doubleheader, with Whitefish securing a 3-1 win and stay undefeated on the season. Columbia Falls' girls won the nightcap 2-1 to earn the series split before heading into the postseason.
Whitefish boys 3, Columbia Falls 1
The boys match started with both teams feeling out the game, as they played to scoreless draw after the first 40 minutes. That quickly changed moments into the second half when Preston McPherson poked one in from just inside the 6-yard box off of a corner kick that put the Bulldogs on top 1-0 to start the second half.
Only three minutes later Kyler Jonson hit an absolute banger of a free kick from just outside the 18 to extend Whitefish’s lead and make it 2-0.
Columbia Falls got on the board with 20 minutes to play to make things interesting thanks to a strong finish from River Wolford, but Whitefish silenced any hope of a comeback after Sam Dow scored the Bulldogs' third goal of the half with seven minutes to play.
With the win, Whitefish earned the season sweep of its rival and finished the regular season 11-0-0 overall and 7-0-0 in the Northern A. Columbia Falls, the reigning state champion, has only two losses, both to Whitefish after losing a 4-3 decision earlier in the season and closed out the regular season 10-2-1 overall and 6-2-0 in the Northern A.
Columbia Falls girls 2, Whitefish 1
The Whitefish and Columbia Falls girls traded scoring opportunities throughout the first half with both teams generating strong offensive attacks. But Whitefish ultimately struck first with a shot from Isabelle Cooke just outside the 18 to put the Bulldogs up 1-0 heading into halftime.
Columbia Falls came alive in the second half. Hope McAtee converted a penalty kick to tie things up 1-1. The Wildkats found the back of the net again off the foot of Kenzee West to go on to win 2-1 and improve to 10-1-2 overall and 5-1-2 in the Northern A to secure a playoff berth.
Whitefish, which had already secured a playoff berth, fell to 9-2-0 overall and 6-1-0 in the Northern A.
The Class A state soccer playoffs begin the week of Oct. 9 with play-in games.