Park unable to hold on in 2-1 loss to Rams

By Thomas E. Watson
Enterprise Staff Writer


The Park High Ranger boys soccer team played its first conference game of the season Saturday in Billings, and after a great start, the Rangers were unable to hold the lead and eventually lost 2-1 to the Billings Central Rams.

“I think our team was exhausted,” head coach Jeff Dickerson said. “The heat of the artificial turf and the pace of the game really got to us in the second half, and we just did not have any gas in the tank.”

The Rangers got on the board first in the eighth minute when Colin McKenzie was able to score on a rebound of a shot from Aidan Todd.

“That was good work by Aidan Todd to get a solid shot,” said Dickerson. “The keeper could not handle it, so Colin was in an excellent position to knock the rebound in after the keeper’s save.”

The Rams didn’t score their first goal until the 22nd minute, and the Rangers had controlled the pace up until that point.

“(We had) excellent play throughout the pitch,” Dickerson said of the Rangers’ start to the match. “We wanted to possess the ball, and try to exploit with our wings. We were successful doing that. We scored the first goal and managed to keep ourselves in the game, but we really put our heads down after they scored, and we didn’t seem to get our energy back after that first goal by Billings Central.”

The Rams didn’t take the lead until the 52nd minute, but the Rangers were never able to find the equalizer.

Billings Central outshot Park 9-6 with a shots-on-goal advantage of 6-3. Ranger keeper Tim Short finished the match with four saves.

This week, the Rangers will have to balance finding time to rest while also preparing for two varsity matches.

“It’ll be difficult,” said Dickerson. “We have back-to-back JV games (Monday and Tuesday) night. Then we come back to Thursday’s match in Belgrade, then have a day in between before we play Laurel on Saturday on another artificial surface. It’ll be a bit of a challenge to get through this week, but I think our players will rebound and approach the week with good mental and physical strength as long as we pace ourselves.”