WHITEFISH — The Whitefish Bulldogs hosted the Billings Central Rams for the girls Class A state soccer championship Saturday at the Smith Fields.
It was an evenly matched game all the way until the final whistle, but it was Billings Central who found the back of the net first only 12 minutes into the game thanks to a rocket of a shot from Abby Derbyshire to give the Rams a 1-0 lead over the Bulldogs.
From there the first half slowed down with neither team able to break through the defense.
But only four minutes after what must have been and inspiring halftime talk, the Bulldogs tied things up 1-1 with a perfectly lofted shot from just outside the 18-yard box from Brooke Roberts.
After that both teams went back and forth, with each coming close to taking the lead. Just as it seemed the game was destined for overtime with less than three minutes to play, Rams senior Lauren Dull managed to launch the ball into the Whitefish goal from about 35 yards out.
She was immediately tackled by teammates and overcome with emotion as it set in that the goal would be the game-winner and secure the 2022 state title for the Rams.
"It doesn’t feel real," said an emotion Dull. "That last shot I just collapsed to the ground and like I said, it doesn't feel real at all just knowing what has happened these past three years and just knowing we finally did it. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever felt in my whole life."
The Rams defeated the Bulldogs 2-1 to secure their 10th soccer state title in program history and their first since 2018.
On the other side of the Flathead Valley the boys Class A State championship took place in Columbia Falls, where the Wildcats hosted the Livingston Rangers and promptly defeated them 5-2 in a dominant display.