Lady Bulldogs Fall Short

Whitefish unable to capitalize on home field advantage, finishes runner up for second time in three years

By Micah Drew
Whitefish’s Maya Lacey reacts to her team’s 2-1 loss to Billings Central at the Class A soccer state championship in Whitefish on Oct. 29, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

There was another state championship game in the Flathead Valley on Saturday, this time with the Lady Bulldogs playing host to Billings Central at Smith Fields. 

Whitefish (12-2-1) was making its second championship appearance in three years, having lost a 3-2 overtime game against Laurel in 2020. The team hasn’t hoisted the first place trophy since 2006, when they knocked off the Rams, despite six appearances in the state final since then. 

The Rams got on the board five minutes into the match, but were unable to improve their lead as Whitefish’s defense became airtight. Early in the second half, Brooke Roberts scored the equalizer, and the two teams appeared evenly matched and headed for overtime as neither team could find a weakness to exploit. 

Brooke Roberts of the Whitefish Bulldogs collides with keeper Olivia Tourtlotte of the Billings Central Rams at the Class A state soccer tournament at Smith Fields in Whitefish on Oct. 29, 2022. Billings beat Whitefish 2-1. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Whitefish coach Roland Benedict said his team controlled possession for a majority of the match and put themselves in a place to win. 

With just three minutes left in the match, Billings Central’s Lauren Dull launched the ball from 15 yards out on the right side that arched over the Whitefish keeper into the back corner of the net. The Rams held it together for the remaining moments of play to secure their trophy. 

“I don’t care that we won or lost,” Benedict told 406mtsports after the game. “It’s how the team performs and did [they] do [their] best. They did that. They don’t believe that they did, but they did.” 

View a photo gallery of the match here.

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