Champs of the pitch: United claim gold
The Hi-Line United U19 soccer team poses for a team photo after capturing the U19 Classic state championship last weekend in Great Falls. Back row, left to right: Pam Olson (coach), Carson Pollington, Erik Woodwick, Greg Rhines, Logan Pike, Payton Robertson, Tom Howell, Phillip Ley, Ben Wiken, Jayson Burrington, Taran Huestis, Jarrid Russell, Briayan Flores (coach). Front row, left to right: Liz Facio, Kaitlyn McKnight, Sam Lippy, Miguel Ley, Angelo Flores.
The season was long, and the injuries were there, but the Hi-Line United U19 soccer team was able to overcome all that the physical season threw at them. And capping off a very successful regular season, the United were able to grab the always-coveted state title.
Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the United were in Great Falls where they went 3-0 to earn the No. 1 state finish in the U19 Classic Division.
They entered the weekend with a record of 11-2-1 and as the No. 1 seed. Friday the United defeated Lewistown 5-0 and Miles City 5-1, putting themselves in the championship match. And in Sunday's championship game, the United defeated Miles City yet again, 7-1.
During the regular season, the United had faced Miles City on three separate occasions. United had earned two wins and one tie in the three games, and after another win at the state tournament on Friday, they were very confident headed into the championship game on Sunday.
In the victory, Taran Huestis allowed just one goal, but also had 16 saves. Logan Pike and Payton Robertson both had two goals each to lead the team, while Sam Lippy, Ben Wiken and Erik Woodwick all had one goal a piece. Pike and Robertson both had one assist as well.
In the first game of the weekend against Lewistown, Pike and Robertson led the way again with two goals each. Woodwick had the other goal, while Lippy, and Pike each had an assist. Huestis had five saves. And against Miles City on Friday, five United players had one goal each. Scoring was Tom Howell Lippy, Robertson, Jarrid Russell and Woodwick. Jayson Burrington, Robertson and Ben Wiken had an assist. Huestis earned 12 saves.
Heading into the weekend, the United weren't quite sure how things would pan out.
Both Payton Robertson and Philip Ley had been sidelined due to injury, and played key roles for the team all season long. It was a toss up whether they would play or not at state tournament, and it ended up Robertson was key in the United success again this weekend.
Robertson led the team in scoring before his injury, and bounced back to lead the team this weekend, totaling five goals and three assists.
The Hi-Line United finished off the season with an overall record of 14-2-1, but most importantly, returned to Havre as state champions.