Three-quarters of the Class A girls soccer state semifinalists call the Flathead Valley home, after the Bigfork, Columbia Falls and Whitefish programs advanced through the first round of the state playoffs on Oct. 14.
The Whitefish Bulldogs, who lost last year’s championship game 2-1 to Billings Central, avenged that loss on Saturday by shutting out the defending champions 4-0. Billings Central is the most successful girls soccer program in the state, with 10 championship wins since 2008, including a six-year streak between 2008 and 2013.
Since then, the only other team to win a state title in that time has been Laurel, which also suffered an early-tournament exit at the hands of the Bigfork Valkyries. The 3-2 victory over the Locomotives changed the tournament landscape. A new champion will be crowned on Oct. 28. and the odds currently favor a team from Northwest Montana bringing home the crown.
The Columbia Falls Wildkats advanced to the semifinals with a 2-0 win over Hamilton, the south conference champion. Now, the Wildkats will face the Valkyries in the Oct. 21 semifinal to advance a local team to the state final. In league play, the teams played to 4-4 and 2-2 draws this season, setting up an exciting matchup.
Whitefish will face Lockwood in their semifinal match.
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