CROSSTOWN: Kalispell soccer faces off on Legends turf

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The crown is gone.

When Flathead and Glacier soccer meet today at Legends Stadium for the first crosstown matches of the season, they’ll have plenty of challenges dealing with each other. They shouldn’t have as big of an issue with the field itself.

Legends Stadium’s new artificial surface has a new drainage system and no longer needs to rely on having a “crown” in the field, where the field is higher in the center to allow for rain and snow to melt toward the edges. That made soccer difficult on the surface, with passes naturally rolling out of bounds.

The new surface will still take some getting used to, with the artificial turf generally playing faster than natural grass, but passes should go where they’re intended without the crown and the old field’s sometimes patchy surface, which should make for two good games between teams that are starting to find their form.

The Glacier boys haven’t lost this season, coming off a long smoke break in the schedule to roast Big Sky 7-1 on Tuesday. The Wolfpack (2-0-1) is one of the top teams in the Western AA, with senior Rohit Tappeta leading the conference with 12 points on five goals and two assists.

The Flathead boys dominated everything but the final score in their game against Sentinel on Tuesday, severely outshooting the Spartans in a 2-1 loss. Led by goalscorers Hanson Eyestad and Shaine Rieke, the Braves (1-2) are one of the most potent teams on this side of the state, and will look to finish Glacier under the lights.

The Bravettes (0-3) also had a strong game in their last outing, falling in a back-and-forth 5-4 loss to Sentinel. Sisters Shayenn and Skyleigh Thompson have led the way, the junior and freshman combining for all of Flathead’s goals this season. After competitive losses to start the season, the Bravettes may have found something in the gutty game on Tuesday that can help them end a two-match losing streak to Glacier.

If they’re going to slow down the Wolfpack (2-0-1) it will have to start with senior Cadie Williams. Williams has a state-high nine goals this season, including one hat trick already this week.

While she’ll be the focus, there are eight other Wolfpack players who have contributed to the scoresheet this season, with Maddie Becker and Taylor Brisendine each with a pair of goals.

That ability to spread the wealth has helped Glacier become the state’s top scoring team.

The boys’ game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and the girls under the lights at 8 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students. Glacier fans are asked to sit at the north end of the stadium and Flathead on the south. The East bleacuers will be closed during the game.

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