It was a tough end to a great season. The Columbia Falls girls soccer team had a rough time against Billings Central in the state A playoffs Saturday, losing to the Lady Rams, 3-1, on the road in the semifinal round.
The Lady Wildcats fell behind 3-0 and never could recover. Freshman Lakia Hill scored at the 64th minute to put the Cats on the board.
Central had a 2-0 lead 15 minutes into the game on a very windy day in Billings.
The Cats had a tough time adjusting to the 45 mph wind, said coach O’Brien Byrd.
“The girls gave everything. We just had a hard time adjusting to the wind,” he said.
On a different day, maybe a different outcome.
Still, Byrd gave Central credit.
“They deserved to win,” he said. “They beat us soundly.”
Central’s been to nine of the last 10 state A finals, he noted.
The Cats got the wind at their backs in the second half and that’s when Hill scored.
The Cats finish the season 10-2-1. They’ll lose Hannah Gedlaman, Hannah Callender, Macey Sandefer, Madeline Jarvis and Joyce Hatfield to graduation. Gedlaman led the team in scoring this season. Jarvis was the squad’s goalkeeper.
“I’m proud of the seniors and their dedication,” he said.
They still have a solid core of returning players, led by Hill, who is just a freshman and Josie Windauer, who is a sophomore.
The team’s JV squad was made up of all freshman players who are rounding into form.
“We’ll be back stronger than ever,” Byrd said.
Central will play Laurel for the state championship. The last team to beat Central in a championship was Whitefish in 2006. The last team to beat the Lady Rams in the post season was the Wildcats in 2014, when the Cats won, 3-2 in the semis, only to lose to Laurel in the final.
Columbia Falls 0 1 — 1
Billings Central 2 1 — 3
BC — Zoie Althoff (Alivia Powers), 12:00
BC — Chloe Paharik (Annie Seybert), 15:00
BC — Paharik (Althoff), 44:00
CF — Lakia Hill, 64:00
Shots on goal — Columbia Falls 3, Billings Central 4. Corner kicks — N/A. Goalie saves — Columbia Falls 1 (Madeline Jarvis), Billings Central 2 (Samantha Burk). Fouls — N/A. Cards — N/A.