Girls wrap up season with a tie; coach Dickerson reflects
By Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER
The boys and girls of Lone Peak High School soccer boarded the bus for Billings at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, preparing for the final game of regular season play against the Lockwood High School Lions. The Big Horn boys entered Saturday in need of a win to earn a spot in the Class A playoff bracket. Backed by freshman keeper Oliver McGuire’s first clean sheet, the Big Horn boys secured their playoff spot.
Lone Peak will face Loyola Sacred Heart School at noon on Saturday, Oct. 15 in Missoula, for a first-round match in the single-elimination MHSA Class A Soccer Championship Series Tournament.
After beating the Lions 5-0 on Sept. 24, the Big Horns looked to do it again and bounce back from Thursday’s homecoming loss against Park High School.
Senior Max Romney got the Big Horns on the board in the first half, finishing a corner kick from junior Cash Beattie. Romney scored again before halftime, giving a 2-0 lead to the Big Horns.
In the second half, Romney took a direct free kick and assisted Beattie for a header score to extend their lead over the Lions, 3-0. That would be the final score.
The Big Horns moved the ball well and dominated possession, coach Tony Coppola wrote in an email to EBS. “Overall, we played well but could work on finding the net.”
Coppola also commended his keeper, McGuire, who has been gaining experience throughout the season at a new position.
“We are excited to play in the state playoffs for the third consecutive year, and look forward to the match versus Loyola,” Coppola wrote. “I am feeling pretty good about our chances of making it to the next round, but for now we are going to train for the game in front of us.”
If the Big Horns win on Saturday, they advance to the semifinal against the winner of Columbia Falls High School and Billings Central Catholic High School. Lone Peak saw Billings Central twice this season, dropping both matches.
Lady Big Horns end their season with a 2-2 tie
Kicking off after the boys’ victory, the Big Horn girls took a 1-0 lead 30 minutes into the first half. Freshman Cate Leydig shot and scored from outside the box. With one minute remaining in the first half, the Lions scored on a penalty shot to tie the score.
In the second half, the Big Horns again took the lead as junior Astrid McGuire scored with 21 minutes remaining. Just like the first half, the Lions tied the score in the final minute of play, ending the Big Horns’ season with a 2-2 tie.
“It’s always hard to give up a goal in those last seconds of a game,” head coach Kim Dickerson wrote in an email to EBS. “We wanted to end the season with a win but sometimes things don’t go the way you hope. The team as always gave great effort.”
As the Lady Big Horns wrap up their third season—the first for both coach Dickerson and assistant coach Cadie Williams—Dickerson added a statement to reflect on the 2022 team.
“Building a strong team chemistry is the foundation of any great team. There was a large freshman class entering the program this fall and it was very important to let the players know from the beginning that they were ONE team. There was no entitlement regardless of grade, club or position,” wrote Dickerson.
“We asked the players what kind of legacy they want to leave behind for future Big Horn soccer players. With this question the team formed core values to hold themselves and future players accountable to. They are grit, commitment, communication, encouragement and teamwork.”
The Big Horns won their first three games, against Stevensville, Frenchtown and Polson.
“With just 13 players on our roster, the team was down at times to just one or no substitutions due to injury and practice ineligibility. Dealing with adversity is part of a season but the players’ strong commitment to each other enabled them to persevere and give great effort every time out on the pitch.
“Being a Class C school playing Class A, numerous coaches throughout the season as well as referees commended this team on their effort and style of play. Conference [matches] did not go as planned but sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles,” Dickerson wrote.
The Big Horns end their season with a 3-7-1 record, but Dickerson believes their record is outshined by the amazing effort this team gave while training and competing.