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Hat trick lifts Lockwood Lions over Lone Peak

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Lockwood Lions celebrate a go-ahead goal late in the game. PHOTO BY JACK REANEY

By Jack Reaney EBS STAFF WRITER

At noon on Saturday, the Lady Big Horns and Lions kicked off an afternoon of varsity soccer at Lone Peak High School. Early momentum swung away from the Big Horns, as Lockwood eighth-grader Meadow Mahlmeister scored three unanswered goals for a 3-2 victory over Lone Peak, who fall to an overall record of 3-5.

The Big Horns jumped to a 2-0 lead, with first half goals at 18 minutes by Hana Mittelstaedt and 27 minutes by Cate Leydig. Lions’ keeper Kennedy Krebs saw more than 20 shots on net, leaping and diving all game to keep the Big Horns lead to two.

“[Lockwood has] a small program that just started last year,” senior Skylar Manka said. “They really turned it around, and now they’re playing really well.”

Lockwood has five players in eighth grade, and only one senior.

A center back and team captain, Manka was tasked with containing the explosive Lions’ offense. On at least three occasions, Manka used her size advantage to stop an incoming breakaway. Unfortunately, the Big Horn defense was missing freshman stopper Maddie Wilcynski—who was out with a concussion—and the shorthanded unit couldn’t contain Mahlmeister. With 12 available players, the Big Horns had only one substitute.

“It’s hard work,” said senior captain Avery Dickerson, who has played defense beside Manka since fifth grade. “I think [Mahlmeister] is in eighth grade, so it’s a little demoralizing as a senior. But there are good players like that on every team, and you just gotta be a goldfish, as our coach says. If she burns you once, you just gotta forget it.”

Mittelstaedt finds the bottom-right corner for the Big Horns, assisted by Elise Daugherty (4) after a cross from Myla Hoover. PHOTO BY JACK REANEY

Dickerson added that Mahlmeister is fast, knows how to shoot, and isn’t afraid to do so.

Meadow Mahlmeister scored off the right post in the 30th minute of the first half, and then beat Dickerson for a breakaway goal nine minutes into the second half. In the final stoppage minutes of the game, Mahlmeister lifted a shot over senior keeper Josie Wilcynski for the game-winning goal.

After a dramatic defeat, both captains kept a growth mindset.

Skylar Manka pointed out an opportunity to take more left-footed shots, rather than jamming the ball into traffic on the right side. Dickerson agreed.

“We take a lot of shots. Not all on frame, but we’re goal hungry the whole game,” Dickerson said. “We like to set up the perfect shot, and that doesn’t always happen.”

“As someone who’s been on this team since it was created, when I was a sophomore, this is one of the most solid groups we’ve had,” Dickerson said. “We have four seniors, two juniors, and seven freshmen—we’re just gonna get better from here.”

The Big Horns have four remaining conference games, against Laurel, Billings Central, Lockwood, and Livingston.

Lone Peak High School Soccer will celebrate Senior Night on Thursday, hosting Laurel High School. Boys will play at 4 p.m., and girls at 6 p.m.

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