Crosstown time for Flathead, Glacier on the pitch

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Flathead and Glacier have barely had a chance to catch their breath regarding the Class AA soccer season and it’s already time for the first crosstown matchup for both schools.

Glacier hosts Flathead today at Legends Stadium with the girls up first at 6 p.m. and the boys to follow at 8.

It’s been a hectic start for both schools with the Glacier boys and girls splitting matches with Great Falls C.M. Russell and Great Falls High last Saturday in Great Falls.

Flathead was also in the Electric City on Saturday to face Billings West and Senior. The Braves went 2-0 while the Bravettes lost both matches.

Flathead was back in action Tuesday at Kidsports Complex with the boys besting Missoula Big Sky 6-0 on the strength of four goals by junior forward AJ Apple. The Bravettes, however, remain winless after falling to Big Sky 4-2.

Glacier ends the week with a trip to Missoula to face Big Sky on Saturday, boys play at 11 a.m. and girls go at 1 p.m.

The second crosstown is Sept. 27 at Legends Stadium. The boys go first at 6 p.m. with the girls starting at 8.

This marks the 12th year for the series.

This will be the first crosstown for Flathead first-year coaches Zach Brenneman, boys, and Bledy Doda, girls. Brenneman was a two-time all-state defender at Flathead and played on the Braves’ last state championship team in 2005.

Glacier is the host school for this meeting.

Boys

Glacier won the first crosstown last year 3-2, but the second game ended in a 3-3 tie thanks to Flathead’s Hanson Eystad’s penalty kick in the 81st minute.

Glacier leads the series 14-6-3.

Ryan Billiet is in his fifth season with the Wolfpack and this will be his ninth crosstown match.

“Seems like the games are always very competitive,” he said with Flathead.

“I don’t think anything has been too lopsided one way or the other.

“As a coach, I enjoy how it showcases some of the best soccer in the community,” he added. “It brings everyone together regardless of who you are cheering for. Soccer at its finest.”

Regarding the weekend in Great Falls, Billiet said it was a learning experience for his young squad.

“We’ll grow from that experience,” he said.

“Retooling, getting sharper every day.”

Girls

Glacier won both matchups, 3-2 and 1-0 a year ago with the Bravettes. The Wolfpack trailed in the first one, but two late goals, a minute apart, was the difference.

Flathead leads the series 14-8-4. The rivals have played 22 league matches and there have been four postseason encounters with Flathead winning three.

For Glacier coach Brenden Byrd, this will be his seventh season of crosstown play. He has been involved in 15 matches during that stretch.

“It’s still the same big, emotional, high-intensity match,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how ranked the team is, crosstown is a completely different game.”

Byrd said he reminds his players that mistakes will happen, but “it’s how you overcome those mistakes. That’s what defines you, not the mistakes” in this type of game.

He said he will tell his young squad it’s “OK to be nervous.” That’s the big focus for crosstown this week.

“Great Falls was a great learning experience,” he said. “We made some finer adjustments, we’re excited to play as a team.

“No major surprises in our lineup,” he added.

“We’re healthy.”

Girls

Western AA

Late Tuesday At Kidsports Complex

Missoula Big Sky 2 2 — 4

Flathead 0 2 — 2

MBS — Scoring not available

F — Shayenn Thompson; Thompson, PK

Shots on Goal — Big Sky 7, Flathead 12; Corner kicks — Big Sky 4, Flathead 7; Goalie saves — Big Sky 7 (NA), Flathead 4 (Aaris Hill); Fouls — NA; Cards — NA.

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