Soccer Teams Off To Strong Start In Class A Playoffs

By Beacon Staff

The weekend was a successful one for local Class A soccer teams.

In the first round of the Class A playoffs last Saturday, the Northern A champion Columbia Falls girls scorched Missoula Loyola/Valley Christian 13-0. Senior McKenzie Kiser and junior Danielle Delventhal each had five goals apiece and the defense limited its opposition to zero official shots on goal.

The Wildkats advance to the semis this weekend in what is sure to be a classic. Columbia Falls (11-1-1) travels to Billings to take on the three-time defending champs, Central (11-1). Billings Central has been the powerhouse in soccer in recent years, having lost only one game in the last three seasons. But Columbia Falls has a pretty special group this season, with 10 seniors, two sharp shooting goal scorers and plenty of motivation.

The Whitefish girls advanced to the second round as well with a nice shutout win over Laurel, 2-0. Natalie Gayner had both Bulldogs’ goals. Whitefish will travel to Hamilton for the semis. Hamilton ousted Polson in the first round, 4-0.

On the boys side, Whitefish’s win streak continues as the Bulldogs blanked Loyola/Valley Christian 5-0 at home. The Northern A champs have won 10 straight and will face Frenchtown for the first time in the two schools’ history. The game is in Frenchtown at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Broncs (5-5-1) are only a three-year-old program but have flourished in the second half this season.

But Whitefish (11-2) has been a consistent contender longer than the Broncs have even been playing soccer.

“We’re feeling great. We’re not very much concerned with our opposition,” Whitefish head coach O’Brien Byrd told me Monday morning. “As long as we can keep playing like this we’re full of confidence right now. The boys are on top of their game right now.”

Polson advanced to the semis with a 1-0 win over Livingston. The Pirates will play Hamilton, which eliminated Libby.

In Class AA, the Flathead girls (6-1-5) will play Glacier (0-10-2) in a state playoff game at Kidsports Complex at 3 p.m. on Thursday. The winner advances to the state tournament. There will be no passes accepted and ticket prices will be $6.00 adults and $4.00 for students. Student Activity cards are also not valid for this game as it is an MHSA playoff. The Glacier boys (3-5-4) will travel to Missoula to play Big Sky (6-5-1). Flathead (0-12-0) plays at Sentinel (6-1-5).