Laurel soccer seeking three-peat

By 
Joe Kusek
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Chloe Baumann attempts to gain control of the ball during the Lady Locos’ 8–0 semifinal win over Bigfork last weekend. Laurel is chasing their third straight State Class A Soccer Championship and face conference rival Billings Central this weekend at 10 a.m. at Amend Park in Billings. Photo courtesy All Out Photography

Chloe Baumann attempts to gain control of the ball during the Lady Locos’ 8–0 semifinal win over Bigfork last weekend. Laurel is chasing their third straight State Class A Soccer Championship and face conference rival Billings Central this weekend at 10 a.m. at Amend Park in Billings. Photo courtesy All Out Photography

Playing for state championships, it’s all they know.

The Laurel seniors will end their high school soccer careers the same way they began:

With the Locomotives playing for the Class A state title.

Laurel (14-1) faces familiar foe Billings Central (13-1) on Saturday at 10 a.m. on the Amend Park turf field to determine the 2021 state champion.

Laurel is seeking a “three-peat.”

The two teams have won the last 13 state championships. Saturday will mark No. 14.

The Locomotives advanced with an 8-0 thumping of Bigfork in the semifinals, while the Rams advanced with a 5-1 victory over Whitefish.

Junior Mya Maack had four goals against Bigfork, two in the space of 28 seconds, to extend her state single-season scoring record to 42. The previous record was 37, shared by Morgan Ferestad of Billings Central (2018) and Heather Olsen of Helena Capital (1996).

It is the Locomotives eighth consecutive appearance in the title match and will be the sixth time in seven years it is against the Rams.

Whitefish crashed the all-Yellowstone County party on the pitch last year, beating Billings Central in the semifinals.

Laurel topped the Bulldogs 3-2 in overtime for the 2020 title.

“It feels really good carrying on the legacy,” said senior Locomotive Chloe Baumann.

The margin between the two programs is razor thin.

The teams traded 3-2 wins on each other’s home turf during the regular season.

“We have just got to bring it,” Baumann said. “I think in the end, it will be whoever wants it the most.”

The teams last met on Oct. 9, a Laurel win on the same Amend Park field.

“The teams are so close,” said Locomotive head coach Tom Maack. “It will be who is mentally prepared coming into the match.”

Laurel takes extra satisfaction playing for a third straight state title after replacing eight seniors from last year’s team.

“It means a lot for our team to play for the state title again,” said senior Madison Peaton.

Peaton had two goals and an assist against Bigfork, both goals coming off her left foot.

“That never happens,” she said. Peaton scored in the opening 80 seconds of the first half and followed it with a drive down the right side for another score in the second half.

“I was looking up the field and didn’t see anyone in front of me so I kept running. I didn’t have anybody to pass to, so I kept going.”

Baumann and Ella Breen scored the other goals.

The Locomotives started five seniors, four juniors and two freshmen in the semifinal match.

“With so many new players, we had to work on connecting with each other,” Peaton added of the season. “It’s a whole new team. We worked our butts off. It was a matter of learning how to play together.”

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