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By Ed Moreth 

Plains hosts 'soccer palooza'


April 19, 2018

Ed Moreth

BIG SAVE – Plains Aunt Katie goalie Kennedy Starika stops Helena Academy from scoring in a U11 girls game at the Amundson Sports Complex Saturday. Helena won the game 7-0.

"It's a soccer palooza," said Erika Lawyer, who had two boys and one girl in an all-day soccer competition at Amundson Sports Complex in Plains Saturday.

Twenty-three teams from Helena, Kalispell, Missoula, Polson, Frenchtown, Whitefish, Libby, Stevensville, Hamilton, and Sanders County gathered at the complex for the competition, which ran from 8:45 a.m. to about 6:45 p.m. The competition included four teams from Sanders County, a coed U14 team, a girls U11, a boys U11 and a coed U18 team. Most of the teams played two games apiece, said Nick Lawyer, who coached the girls U11 team and co-coached the U18 team with Jake Cremer of Hot Springs. The teams were part of the Montana Youth Soccer Association, which is comprised of 36 teams from across the state, said Lawyer, who is also the president of the association.

The Plains Stampede, which has players from Plains, Paradise, Thompson Falls, Hot Springs, and St. Regis, nabbed a forfeiture win from the Libby Rapids, but to give the teams more field experience and have an actual game, some of the Stampede players played on the Libby team. Plains claimed a 8-5 victory. Stampede's game against the Frenchtown Broncs later in the day was close throughout the competition. Plains had a 3-1 lead in the first half, but the Broncs battled back to tie the game with only a few minutes to go. It was a penalty kick that gave Frenchtown a 4-3 win. The Broncs, a high school team, defeated Stevensville 5-1 earlier in the day. Frenchtown was the southern A district champion and a state high school soccer semifinalist last year, according to Lawyer.

"This is the biggest weekend of soccer in Montana and it's right here in Plains," said Lawyer, who added that the sport of soccer in Plains is growing every year. Games went nonstop all day with players ranging from 6 years old to 19. A U18 team is allowed two 19-year-olds on the team, said Lawyer.

Not all coaches reported their scores, said Gen Curry, one of the game organizers. In the U11 game, Missoula beat the Plains Wildfire 9-0. The Helena girls claimed a 11-0 victory over the Polson girls and the Helena boys defeated Polson 8-0. The Frenchtown Force U14 beat the Plains Wildfire team 5-2 and in the girls U11 competition, the Helena Academy beat the Plains Aunt Katie team 7-0. The U10 Helena boys also pulled out a victory with a 2-0 win over Hamilton Valley Elite. The Helena boys U11 also had a 3-0 win over Kalispell. The girls U10 Missoula versus Helena was the only recorded tie, finishing with a score of 0-0.

The Amundson Sports Complex will host U14 soccer on Saturday, April 21, starting at 10 a.m. with Plains taking on Missoula. The Plains team will go up against Helena at 4 p.m.


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