By Dan Kelly EBS Contributor
BIG SKY – The Lone Peak Big Horns boy’s and girl’s soccer teams hosted the Billings Central Rams at the Big Sky Community Park soccer fields this Saturday, Oct. 2.
Both LPHS teams fell to the Rams in hard fought games. The fans were all smiles on a picture-perfect fall day in Big Sky as the Big Horns and Rams went head-to-head in an afternoon full of exciting play by both schools.
The Lady Big Horns were up to the task in the first half, with a goal scored by senior midfielder Campbell Johnson in the 38th minute. Goalie junior Josie Wilcynski made a superb save to keep the game close in the final seconds of the first half.
Due to in-game injuries, the Lady Big Horns had as few as nine players on the field at one point with no subs able to come in off the bench.
As the game wore on, the Lady Bighorns were beset on all sides by injuries and eventually succumbed to the unrelenting attack from the Lady Rams offense. To their credit, they fought hard and continued to distribute the ball well throughout the game despite having less than the normal eleven players on the field. When the final whistle blew, the Lady Big Horns had lost 5-1.
Earlier in the season Billings Central beat Lone Peak 10-0, so this game was a step in the right direction for the Lady Big Horns.
“Even though we lost, we played our best game of the season and kept the number one team from a shutout,” Johnson said after the game.
The Lady Big Horns record is now 2-8 for the season.
As the team sat watching the boy’s game, morale was high with players laughing and talking amongst themselves on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Big Sky.
A Big Horns player displayed a resplendent American flag while the starters were announced for each team and the players wished each other good luck before the game. Once the game began, such niceties were done away with in what proved to be a fast and physical matchup between two hard-charging opponents.
Billings Central struck first after an unlucky deflection sent the ball hurtling past goalkeeper sophomore Sawyer Wolfe in the 15th minute. He would soon after make an excellent save to keep the score 1-0 on a freekick from inside the box which found all eleven Big Horn players packed into the goal in an effort to stymie the Rams attempt.
The Big Horns bounced back and displayed efficient and accurate passing throughout the first half, moving the ball well into opposing territory even as quality goal scoring opportunities failed to materialize.
“I am proud of the grit and compassion the boys showed on the field today,” said boy’s Head Coach Tony Coppola. “We will work on finding the net for our next match.”
Defensively, Lone Peak was tenacious in pursuing 50/50 balls and closed well on the ball in space, making numerous open field tackles to prevent breakaways. Facing a fast and furious attack from the Rams, the Big Horns back line did well to repel numerous attacks throughout the game.
Shortly into the second half, in what can only be described as a freak goal, Rams goalkeeper Myles Ragar sent a freekick from behind half field soaring into the back of the Big Horns net. Despite this demoralizing goal, Lone Peak continued to battle hard throughout the second half and had several promising opportunities on offense which unfortunately did not find the back of the net. At the game’s end, the score stood 2-0 in favor of Billings Central.
The Big Horns record is now 4-5-1.
Both Big Horn teams left it all on the field this Saturday and will return to action for Senior Night this Thursday, Oct. 7.