Although there was a loser in the Flathead Valley United White versus Bozeman Blitzz FC pool play matchup on Saturday afternoon, both U14 girls teams could still celebrate afterwards.
Because the Blitzz and United White get to play again today, but this time for the Silver Cup, at 8 a.m. on Field 4 at Kidsports Complex on the final day of the Montana State Cup soccer tournament.
Both teams finished with 2-1 marks to tie for first after the first two days of play to advance to the championship match. Those were the best records out of the four teams in their bracket. Valley Elite FC and Livingston YSA were both 1-2.
The Blitzz defeated United White 2-0 on Field 5 in what turned out to be a preview for today’s more important clash.
That gave the Blitzz their second tournament win and was the first tournament loss for United White.
“They are disappointed right now (after the loss to the Blitzz), but that’s a healthy thing,” United White coach Jelisa Byl said.
“It will give them a sense of urgency for tomorrow.”
Scoring for the Blitzz were Jenna Garvert in the first half and Brynlee Christophersen early in the second.
“It’s always been about growth with this team,” Blitzz coach Steven Garvert said.
“They have improved and that’s important with this team.”
The Blitzz and United White have both struggled through a long spring season. Heading into the tournament, the Blitzz had won just once and tied three times.
“Lost the rest,” Garvert said.
“This is one of the best games we have played.”
United White had won three times, which included a 4-1 win over the Blitzz earlier in the year.
“We’re the team of persevering,” Byl said.
“We’ve been placed in the wrong tournament bracket all season long, wrong age group, but we never give up.”
Earlier in Cup play, United White beat Livingston 3-2 and Valley Elite FC 3-0 while the Blitzz beat Valley Elite 5-0, but lost to Livingston YSA 2-1.
The Blitzz have eight goals in tournament play to six for United White. The Blitzz allowed two goals to the White’s four.
“It’s been fun, been competitive,” Byl said of the tournament.
“We have a young team.”
United White stayed on the offensive, despite being down 2-0, but couldn’t cash in on a variety of scoring chances late in the second that were either just wide right or wide left or right to the Blitzz goalie.
“We had lots of opportunities,” Byl said.
Making sure that didn’t happen — a score by United White — was a sagging Blitzz defense and strong keeper play by Christophersen in the first half and Sydnee McLane in the second.
“We played a little different style in the second half,” Garvert said. “I didn’t want us to check out and let an easy goal in. That’s what we didn’t want to do this game.”
The top two teams from pool play will be on the pitch today for Gold and Silver cup championship matches in U13 to U18 age brackets, boys and girls.