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Boys Soccer: Libby boys fall short in title defense

by Western News
| October 29, 2009 12:00 AM

When Libby goalkeeper Lewis Brossman knocked the ball out of the net during a second-half offensive by Billings Central, the head official in the Class A semifinal matchup hesitated and glanced in the direction of an assistant.

Unfortunately for the Loggers, a goal was signaled to give the home team a 2-1 advantage. That score held up the rest of the way as the defending champion Libby boys ended the season with a 10-4 record.

“The second goal was a huge momentum changer,” Libby coach Charlie Webster said. “Billings Central tired towards the end, the result of a high pressure defense they employed effectively throughout the game, so we did have a final couple of chances.”

But Libby could not find the net over the final 19 minutes.

“I think we all learned something about how hard it is to repeat as champions,” Webster said. “The boys had a great season.  They established a new mark for the most wins in a regular season … and they played one of the best games of the year knocking out Hamilton, 4-2, in the first round of the playoffs and finished with an overall record of 10-4. Three of the four losses, including the state semifinal, were only by one goal.”

Billings Central struck first with a goal just four minutes into the contest on a shot by Cory Miller. The Loggers tied the game just before halftime on a penalty shot by Crawford Dinning. Dinning had been tripped in the penalty box with only the keeper to beat during a 1-on-1 opportunity.

“We were confident at halftime,” Webster said. “We had a few things to do better and the players were ready to make those adjustments.”

Libby came out strong and dominated over the first 20 minutes of the second half.

“Those 20 minutes were probably the only quality soccer minutes we really played on Saturday,” Webster said.

But then Libby made a mistake in the 61st minute and the Rams capitalized with the quick goal by Kevin Klee. Klee took the shot in traffic past a diving Brossman who couldn’t get to the ball quick enough.

“It crossed the line just before Lewis knocked it out,” Webster said. “If the shot had been taken from another yard out, Lewis’s dive would have had time to make another save for us.”

Brossman, James Schnackenberg, Nick Reny, Ryan McCabe and Zach Schikora played their final games as seniors. Webster said 15 varsity players will return next season.