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Sports roundup: Bigfork kicks off soccer season

by JEREMY WEBER
For the Eagle | August 31, 2022 12:00 AM

The Bigfork High School soccer season got off to a successful start at home Friday as the Vikings downed visiting Laurel 5-3 before the Valkyries earned a 1-1 tie against a perennially tough Locomotive’s squad.

An hour-long lightning delay did nothing to cool down the Vikings in their season opener as they jumped out to a 3-1 halftime lead on a pair of goals from Jerry Pilskalns and one by Landon Byerman.

The Locomotives came chugging back to tie the game at three early in the second half before an own goal put the Vikings back ahead 4-3. Asa Barrett added one final goal to extend the Bigfork lead as the Vikings pulled away for the victory.

Defense took top billing in the girls matchup as the Valkyries looked for revenge against the team that bounced them from the playoffs in the state semifinals a year ago.

In a contest that Valkyries head coach Park Schara said felt like a championship game, both teams battled through a scoreless first half before Scout Nadeau put Bigfork on the scoreboard with a free kick to the back of the net early in the second half.

The Valkyries relentless attack put 24 shots on goal against the Locomotives, but Bigfork could not add to its lead down the stretch.

Bigfork continued to lead late in the contest until Laurel’s Mya Maack curved a corner kick into the net with three minutes remaining to knot the score at 1-1, where the contest ended.

“That really should have been our game and it should have been a lot more one-sided than it was,” Schara said. “The girls treated that game like we lost it. I don’t think it registered to them that we played well and it was an accomplishment to get a tie against that team. I had to keep reminding them that it wasn’t that long ago we lost to that team 8-0 in the playoffs.”

It was all Valkyries Saturday as Bigfork blew past visiting Corvallis 3-0.

Bigfork put 38 shots on goal to get their three goals, the first coming by Maddie Chappuis with an assist from Brynn Bagley in the first half. Nadeu added another first-half goal for Bigfork as the Valkyries led 2-0 at the break.

Piper Buzzell added the final goal of the contest in the second half as the Valkyries picked up their first win of the season.

“This team is like a bunch of animals,” Schara said about his team’s tenacity. “They really get after it out there and they feel like winning is their only option. They work hard and they push each other.”

Levi Peterson scored a hat trick in the first half for the Vikings in their matchup against Corvallis Saturday, but Bigfork dropped a tough one as they fell to the Blue Devils, 5-4.

Peterson’s three first half goals helped Bigfork keep the matchup tied at 3-3 at the half and Barrett added a goal in the second half, but it was not enough as Corvallis got the win.

Both Bigfork teams will be on the road this weekend as they play at Billings Central Friday and Lockwood Saturday.

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Gracie Johnson looks for an opening in the Laurel defense as the Valkyries and Locomotives ended in a 1-1 tie. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)

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Valkyrie Danika Bucklin moves the ball past the Laurel defense during Bigfork's season opener at home Friday. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)

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Levi Peterson stops on a dime to move the ball past a Laurel defender Friday. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)

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Hunter Miland heads the ball away from a Laurel player during the Viking's 5-3 win over Laurel Friday. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)

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Viking Asa Barrett battles a Laurel defender during Bigfork's season opener at home Friday. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)