By Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER
A successful season came to an end for Lone Peak High School boys soccer on Saturday, Oct. 15 in Missoula, with a 4-0 playoff loss.
The Big Horns competed in the state quarterfinal against the Loyola Sacred Heart School Rams. In each of the three years since the soccer program was created, the Big Horns have competed in Montana Class A and earned a playoff berth.
“The game was very physical, and Loyola’s seven seniors kept the Big Horns looking over their shoulders and picking themselves up off the ground,” head coach Tony Coppola wrote in an email to EBS.
“My hat goes off to seniors Max Romney and Colter Marino as well as juniors Cash Beattie, Mason Dickerson and Beckett Johnson for playing with grit, always to the whistle and leaving it on the pitch. Well done lads,” Coppola wrote.
In general, Coppola said, the Big Horns “played timid” and lacked the certain degree of needed physicality. Their first touch was heavy as a team, and their passing patterns from practice didn’t translate to the pitch. This allowed Loyola to steal the ball in transition and possess the ball on the Big Horns’ defensive half. When the Big Horns did move on attack, they “stalled” on offense and failed to challenge Loyola’s keeper.
Coppola wished the best of luck to Loyola in their semifinal game against Columbia Falls this upcoming weekend.
Coach Coppola hopes the boys will learn from this season and reflect on how they improved themselves as players, teammates, and human beings. He wrote that he and assistant coach Jeremy Harder plan to do the same.
With only three seniors on this year’s team, Coppola looks forward to having at least 15 returning players next season. Ideally close to 10 freshmen will also join, building a strong future for the Big Horns.
“The future looks bright, and the coaches hope the players respond with the grit and determination it takes to move beyond the first round,” Coppola wrote.