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Boys Soccer: Libby to play Hamilton in state playoffs

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| October 12, 2009 12:00 AM

The second season now begins.

Following a thrilling 2-1 victory over Polson and a 5-0 loss to Whitefish last week, the Libby High School boys soccer team now wipes the slate clean to focus on defending its Class A title.

Playoff brackets had not yet been finalized as of Monday morning but it appears that the Loggers will play at home on Saturday at 2 p.m., against Hamilton.

Libby clinched a spot in the playoffs with Thursday’s win over Polson.

“It was a physical, hard-fought game to the finish,” LHS coach Charlie Webster said about the game, which included 33 total penalties. “We did not pass as well as we need to, nor were we able to keep good possession … play was a little sloppy at times.”

Libby had 22 penalties and two yellow cards.

“We had some breakdowns in our game plan,” Webster said. “The Pirates played a good game and continued to challenge us to the final whistle.”

Libby scored in the 21st minute on a throw-in from Nick Reny to Patrick Valentine. For more than an hour, the Loggers held on to the 1-0 lead. Then in the 77th minute, the Pirates scored the equalizer on a goal by Peter Hanson.

Libby countered with an aggressive attack in the final minutes. On the game-winner, Daniel Webster tackled the ball away from a Polson midfielder and headed toward the center of the field. As defenders gave chase, he found Crawford Dinning alone on the right side. Dinning one-touched the ball to the center toward an open Cree Maloney but a Polson defender deflected it. Still, Maloney got his foot on the ball and scored in the 79th minute.

Brandon Pagacz, Greg Lundin and Caleb Lapka came up big on defense in front of keeper Lewis Brossman. It was the ninth game this season in which LHS had allowed one goal or less.

The Loggers ran into a tough Whitefish club on Saturday. The Bulldogs needed to win the game to qualify for the playoffs.

“Whitefish to their credit played a spectacular game,” Webster said. “They will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. … Even if we had played well, I don’t know if we could’ve beaten them.”

The Loggers had opportunities early on but Whitefish was able to dodge bullets. The Bulldogs broke through on a goal by Anto Daoud with an assist to Joel Bacher.

“We created some easy chances at the start of the game and couldn’t finish,” Webster said. “I think we had a letdown after their first goal.”

Maloney just missed to the right on a free kick about five minutes later. The Bulldogs then went up 2-0 on a Jon Reimer goal from Travis Adams.

A little over a minute later, Libby nearly scored on a header by Reny. Marco Vences set Reny up with a pass but the shot missed to the left. James Schnackenberg had a chance as well after a free kick from Dinning.

Whitefish controlled tempo the rest of the game with an aggressive style on both sides. Daoud scored his second goal in the 55th minute to put the game out of reach. The Bulldogs added two late goals on shots by Jack Steele and Curran Edland.

“We’ve never beaten Whitefish; the boys really wanted this game,” Webster said.

Libby finished 6-2 in the conference and takes a 9-3 overall record into the playoffs.