Havre Daily News
Midway through the club soccer season, the Hi-line United U-19 soccer team is well on its way to another successful season.
The United continued its recent string of solid play Saturday in Lewistown by defeating Miles City 2-1 and knocking off Belgrade 5-0 in U-19 league soccer play.
The United had already faced off against Miles City earlier in the season and won handily. But this time around things didn't go quite as smoothly.
The United got off to a great start with a pair of early goals by Kyle Mackay and Chris Owens to give them a 2-0 lead, and it appeared that once again the route was one. However, Miles City had other ideas and was able to hold the potent United offense scoreless throughout the remainder of the contest.
“Miles City is a team that improved a lot from the last time that we played them,” Hi-Line United head coach John Ita said. “But looking back, we really dominated that game. Our team took an incredible amount of shots and we played really solid defense; we just didn't finish when we had the chance to on offense. When you shoot as many times as we did you have to find a way to finish better and put the ball in the net.”
Miles City scored early in the second half after a United turnover deep in its own territory, and all of a sudden the game tightened up a considerable amount.
But in the long run, the United was simply too strong defensively to allow Miles City to score the equalizer.
The United leaned on the strong play of defenders Alex Leyba, Scott Geda and Taylor Ita as well as the solid play of goalie Shiloh Barrett, who notched three saves, to hang on for the 2-1 win.
“Our defense really dominated,” John Ita said. “They weren't able to get very many shots on our net, and even though the game was close we were in control throughout. Our kids just got a little frustrated offensively, and we just didn't play very well as a team.”
After taking care of Miles City, the United set its sights on Belgrade, one of the top teams in the U-19 league. When the United took the field against Belgrade, it was a completely different team than the one that had narrowly defeated Miles City earlier in the day.
Tyler Myers was absolutely spectacular in goal for the United, making nine saves in the victory and turning away Belgrade on a number of good scoring opportunities.
With Myers was keeping Belgrade from getting on the board, the offense was finally able to get things going. Owens scored two goals to lead the way for the United. Bruce Beecher, Kyle Mackay and Eric Olsen also added goals for the United in the 5-0 win.
“I can't say enough about the way Tyler Myers played in goal,” John Ita said. “Belgrade had a lot of great chances to score, and every single time it looked like they were going to score, Tyler stepped up and made a great save. Our defense also did a good job of limiting their shot attempts. Tyler had a great game, but he also got a lot of help from our defense.”
Taylor Ita had a outstanding game on the defensive end, notching seven blocks and 16 interceptions in the win. Drue Ita also had a very nice game both offensively and defensively, with 16 interceptions and nine tackles to go along with one assist.
“I just can't say enough about the play of our defensive players like Alex Leyba, Scott Geda and Frank Lippy,” John Ita said. “Drue and Taylor both had great games for us, but both of them were helped out a lot by their defensive teammates.
“Both of those players get a lot of interceptions and tackles, but a lot of times they are given the opportunity to make those plays because the solid play of our defense,” he added.
The United will continue their season Saturday when they square off against a pair of club teams in Butte.