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Kootenai Valley Record. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Kootenai Valley Record
Logger soccer wins state championship
State Class A Boys' Soccer Champs
by Brent Shrum, Kootenai Valley Record
November 4, 2008

The Libby Loggers are state Class A boys’ soccer champions after winning 2-1 at Billings Central on Saturday.

"This was a hard fought battle between two well matched teams," said Libby coach Charlie Webster. "It was a beautiful game well deserving of a state championship."

Both teams started strong with excellent passing and quick attacks, and neither gave up, Webster said.

The first score of the game came when a Logger defensive breakdown left Billings Central’s Cody Dutton alone against goalkeeper Lewis Brossman in the third minute of play.

"Cody placed an excellent shot just beyond Lewis’s reach and into the right corner of the net, Webster said. "Libby, however would not be denied and Libby’s defense would not falter again."

Brandon Pagacz, Dustin Morningstar, Greg Lundin, Scott Harlow, James Schankenberg and Brossman "settled down and played 97 minutes of great soccer," Webster said. "The Logger midfield of Evan May, Cyrus Maloney, and Nick Reny, supported by the defenders, played some of their best passing/combinations plays of the year."

The Loggers were prepared for a long, patient defensive battle and to have to play from behind to win the championship, Webster said.

"The Loggers and Rams played a back and forth game," he said. "With 20 minutes left in the second half of play the Loggers switched to a more attack-oriented formation and within five minutes found the back of the net on an assist from Kyle Berke to the top of the penalty box that Cree Maloney and Nick Reny both attacked and put it into the net."

Each player credited the other with the goal.

After that goal, the momentum was with the Loggers, who had numerous opportunities but were unable to score before the end of regulation play. Two 10-minute overtime periods ensued.

"Most of the overtime periods were played in the midfield, with the Loggers still playing better soccer and still carrying the momentum," Webster said. "Libby had some advantage by being able to play more substitutes earlier in the game. Those players, Levi Edwards-Myslicki, Daniel Webster, Caleb Lapka, and Marco Vences, all came in and contributed valuable minutes."

After 100 minutes of soccer, the game was decided with a shootout. Both teams selected five players to take turns shooting from 12 yards out against the keeper.

"Billings Central went first and made theirs," Webster said. "Libby’s best shooter went second and to everyone’s amazement missed."

Billings went again and made what was to be their last shot. Cree Maloney scored, Billings’ next shot went wide left, Kyle Berke scored for Libby, Brossman stopped Billings next shot, Nick Reny scored for Libby, and Billings Central last shooter went wide right, giving Libby a 3-2 win in the shootout without the final shooter having to take his shot.

"This was another excellent team effort by the Loggers, who saved one of their best for last," Webster said. "Coming from behind in soccer to win a state championship against a very strong Billings Central team (12-1-1 coming into the game) showed the heart and character of the Loggers. They were determined to get it done and they found a way."

Editor’s Note: See the November 3, 2008 edition of the Kootenai Valley Record for the printed version of this story. The Kootenai Valley Record publishes once a week, on Monday, in Libby, Montana. They are a locally owned community newspaper, located at 403 Mineral Avenue in Libby. For in-county and out-of-county subscription information, call 406-293-2424, or e-mail kvrecord@gmail.com.

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