Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Girls soccer battles in close games, tops two opponents

Whitefish Pilot | September 29, 2021 1:00 AM

The Whitefish girls team is starting to get a reputation based on the way they play.

The Lady Bulldogs play a game of possession and have been lethal in front of the net this season — their opponents are preparing for that now. In Bigfork last week, the Valkyries bulked up their defense in anticipation of facing Whitefish’s high-octane offense. The Bulldogs won 2-0.

“If you purely look at it from a scoreline, we struggled I guess, it's a close scoreline,” Whitefish head coach Roland Benedict said. “If you look at it and you dive into the stats that were created — they had one shot on goal the whole game. Unfortunately they chose to not try and really threaten, their goal was to just not lose by a lot is what it felt like.”

Benedict said Bigfork sat nine field players back behind the ball and only left one player up top, clearly playing with a focus on stopping Whitefish’s attack. Despite this, in the 5th minute Bulldog Sofie Saurey hit a shot and scored off an assist from Emma Barron to put Whitefish up early.

The battle with a stacked Bigfork defense dawdled on in the second half. Barron finally connected on a shot in the 66th minute to increase Whitefish’s lead to 2-0.

“I’m happy with the girls; we got two goals, we hit the post I think four times, we definitely could have scored more,” Benedict said. “And we dominated the play, we had over 80% of the ball, completed over 400 passes, they completed I think 80.”

Whitefish also had one of its toughest matches of the season against Livingston on Saturday, but its defense held a clean sheet against the strong Eastern A Park Rangers to win 1-0.

Both teams were scoreless in the match throughout the first half, battling for possession of the ball. With just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, junior forward Brooke Roberts sunk the ball in the back of the net for the game-winning goal. Whitefish held off Park for the rest of the game.

“Park’s the best team we’ve played this year, and they’ve shown it…” Benedict said. “To keep a clean sheet against them in Livingston is a big one. Moving forward I think we need to be a little more clinical in front of goal and get back to creating chances that we wanted to.”

Whitefish outshot Park 15-7 and Bulldog keeper Norah Schmidt made five saves.

The Lady Dogs move to 8-0 on the season and remain in first place in the Northwest A.

Next week is homecoming and the girls will face Libby on Memorial Field at Whitefish High School under the lights at 7 p.m. Then Whitefish will take on Columbia Falls in a rematch of the Bulldogs 4-0 win over the Wildkats from just a couple weeks ago.

“The Columbia Falls game on Saturday is the big one…” Benedict expressed. “They’re going to be coming for blood. We beat them 4-0 at their house, they’re going to watch that game film and want to come after us, but we’ll be prepared.”

Whitefish hosts the Wildkats on Saturday at noon at Smith Fields.

Whitefish 1 1 — 2

Bigfork 0 0 — 0

WF — Sofie Saurey (Emma Barron) 5:00

WF — Barron (Olivia Genovese) 66:00

Shots — WF 17, Bigfork 2. Goalie saves — WF 1 (Norah Schmidt), Bigfork 9 (Catherine Panor). Corner kicks — WF 6, Bigfork 0.

Whitefish 0 1 — 1

Park 0 0 — 0

WF — Brooke Roberts (Sophie Olson) 69:00

Shots — WF 15, Park 7. Goalie saves — WF 5 (Norah Schmidt), Park 9. Cards — WF 1.