The Wildhorse Stampede U17 soccer team split their weekend action in Helena with a 2-1 win against Great Falls and a 6-1 loss to Helena.
“Both games were outside the classic league we play in. It was a chance for us to test ourselves against two very solid select level teams,” said coach Nick Lawyer.
“We were bitten by the injury bug earlier this week and made the decision to travel to Helena without any substitutes. We didn’t want it to change how we played and we made the effort to attack in both games,” he further explained.
The first game against Great Falls, the Stampede jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first 15 minutes and continued to press for a third goal all the way to half time.
“Great Falls managed just two shots on target in the first half, owing to resolute defending from the Stampede,” he said.
Fatigue began to set in, Great Falls enjoyed more possession and grabbed a consolation goal before the final whistle.
The second match of the day, the Stampede took on the current U17 select league leaders, the Helena Arsenal U16 boys.
Lawyer explained that there are three levels to competitive soccer.
“Premier League soccer is the top level in the state, and is seen in big cities like Billings or Missoula. Select level soccer is the next level down and is roughly similar to class A soccer. Wildhorse Stampede play at the classic level, which is for the smaller clubs in the state. Those teams are co-ed and span several age groups.” explained Lawyer.
“For us, we want to know how we stack up against the next level and this was our test,” he added.
The Stampede took a defensive and counter-attacking posture during the first half against Helena. On a quick counter attack Stampede striker Alex Borgmann drilled the Helena keeper who couldn’t handle the rebound and was tapped home for the lead by Kyran Kenison.
The Stampede held on well through heroic goalkeeping from Wyatt Weyers, and it was 5 minutes from half when Helena scored three quick goals to make it 3-1 at the break.
Again, Lawyer said tired legs began to creep in and by midway through the second half the Stampede were limited to a defensive posture for the rest of the game.
“In the end, they were too much for us, and we just couldn’t get back into the match.” explained Lawyer.
The Stampede will return to classic league play next week against Libby.
In other areas around Montana this past weekend the Stampede U14 team lost to Valley Elite (Hamilton) 5-1 and FC Missoula 5-0.
The Stampede U11 boys team earned their second win of the season in a 3-2 match against the Missoula Strikers.
Earlier that day they tied FC Missoula 3-3. The U11 boys team play next weekend in Whitefish before their final weekend of play in Polson.
The U10 girls team earned their 5th tie of the season in a 2-2 match against the Missoula Strikers, and later lost to FC Missoula 6-0. This is the final weekend of play for the U10 girls team.
All teams and coaches are looking positively over the next few weeks in hopes of finishing the season with a win for all age group teams.