Last year, the Columbia Falls girls soccer team fell just short of winning the Northwest Class A conference by virtue of a tie against Polson. The Wildkats are looking to right that ship this season.
“We want the title back,” coach Greg Trenerry said.
This year’s team has just three seniors — Skye Hatfield, Megan Seliger and Lyndsey Strouse — but it returns 11 juniors. The Kats’ main loss on offense is Haley Purdy — she moved out of state. But they still have a lot of quickness in Kendra King, Tavia Bechtel and Ellie Johnson. Strouse has a solid shot from the midfield.
The girls also have a solid defense, Trenerry said.
“We have our defense back,” he said.
There’s some freshmen talent as well, including Hannah Gedlaman who looked sharp in practice as a forward.
The Kats have 24 players this year, so they could sub out twice completely and still leave a couple on the bench.
Last year’s team went 6-1-1 in conference play and 7-3-3 overall. Their lone conference loss was to Whitefish.
The Kats will be tested by eastern Montana squads once again this season, as their first four games are against Eastern Montana teams.
They open against Belgrade and Park County high schools on Sept. 4-5 and then are home against Laurel and Billings Central on Sept. 12-13.
In the Northwest conference, Whitefish is always tough, and Polson now has a spring club team and should be improved, Trenerry said. This is Trenerry’s 18th year coaching the Kats. He’s assisted by his daughter, Nicolette Bales.
Girls soccer hungry for return to championship match
Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The Whitefish girls soccer team enters the season hungry to return to the state championship match.
Whitefish went 12-3 last season and made it to the finals where they lost to the six-time defending Class A champions of Billings Central. While a handful of standout seniors graduated from that Whitefish team, a strong fleet of up-and-comers are ready to lead another deep playoff run.
“After having a taste of the finals the girls are anxious to get there again — but it will be a process,” Whitefish coach Wendy Farrens said. “We graduated five seniors and we’re looking to fill those gaps in our roster. So far, we’re seeing good turnout.”
This year’s team includes two returning seniors in Grace Kurtz and Jess Baldanado. Both will be captains along with juniors Anna Peterson and Cassidy Grady.
Farrens has been impressed with the team’s play after a week of practice, but reminds her players the season is a marathon, not a sprint.
“As always, we take the season one game at a time,” she said. “We won’t be the same team in our first game as our last.”
The Lady Dogs are stacked with youthful talent, including eight new freshman who will look to fight for varsity roster spots.
“I’m optimist about our potential,” Farrens said. “We do have some depth, and I hope we can make strides with some of our freshman.”
“We have a lot of strength in our versatility. We have good players who can play different positions. Right now we are figuring out how each player works best for the team.”
Sophomore Kess Nelson will step up to play goalkeeper.
“We’re very excited to have her,” Farrens said. “She’s going to be awesome for us.”
Twenty-four girls will make up the varsity and JV rosters.
Whitefish looks to contend for the conference title, with Columbia Falls and Polson poised to challenge.
Whitefish opens the season Aug. 29 at Hamilton.
“It’s a nice way to shake the nerves,” Farrens said of the opening match. “We’ll look to go there and work hard and play good soccer.”