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Her doctors weren’t thrilled when Ana Schell told them she would be playing this week.

The Bozeman senior had suffered nerve damage in her elbow during the state quarterfinals just a few days prior. On Tuesday, Schell’s left arm was wrapped up. She said it “hurts a lot — a lot.”

But that couldn’t stop her from playing. She desperately wanted to be on the field.

“We’re good,” Schell exclaimed with a smile. “It hurts a lot, but I’m sticking it out because I know I want to be a part of this amazing team.”

The Hawks have dealt with challenges like this throughout the year. Prior to the Class AA semifinals, several players were dealing with various injuries, forcing Bozeman to alter its lineup and rotation.

The Hawks haven’t been fazed by these problems all year. And they nearly overcame another obstacle. But this time, their opponent was too much.

West No. 2-seeded Kalispell Glacier scored in the final minutes of overtime to pull out a 2-1 win over East No. 2 Bozeman in the state semifinals on Tuesday at Bozeman High.

Hawks head coach Erika Cannon, after the loss, needed a few seconds when asked about the emotions she felt. She thought they were “just so close.”

“It was just tough because the girls overcame so much this season. The team was just stepping up for each other,” Cannon said. “They never gave up. That’s what was really impressive that they always leaned on each other and always fought for each other and backed each other up and supported each other when they needed it. It was so fun to watch that you just don’t want it to stop.”

This persistence was evident in the semifinal match. After a scoreless first half, Glacier’s Emily Cleveland scored just a few minutes after intermission.

But the Hawks, about 10 minutes into the second half, responded with a goal by Sami Murphy.

Cannon knew the Hawks (11-3-3) could generate solid scoring opportunities. After a troublesome first half, she felt they created those chances but couldn’t convert as often as she hoped.

Glacier coach Brenden Byrd said his team was missing players, including seniors, because of quarantines. He was proud Glacier still found a way to win.

In the 95th minute, Reagan Brisendine netted a go-ahead goal.

“The girls, they worked hard. They dug deep,” Byrd said. “Bozeman’s a great team.”

Afterward, Cannon told the Hawks she felt fortunate to have coached the group and see them grow as a team.

The season, which was altered by the coronavirus pandemic from the beginning, wasn’t easy for Bozeman. The Hawks lost returning all-state selection Addi Ekstrom in the season opener due to a torn ACL.

But after dropping the first two contests, the Hawks didn’t lose another match in the regular season. Despite several injuries, they earned the second spot in the Eastern AA standings and confidently marched to the state semifinals.

Hawks senior Payton Putnam had missed four games due to a hamstring injury, including the first two rounds of the playoffs. She played on Tuesday, though, despite the hamstring feeling “80%” up to standard.

When asked to describe her team, perseverance came to Putnam’s mind. She knew she could always count on her teammates, so she didn’t want to let them down. She refused to miss a chance to help the Hawks earn a state title berth.

“We definley put our everything out there,” Putnam said. “At times, it felt like we were so close to getting that goal and making it to the championship. Obviously it’s really sad, but we put everything we had into it so that’s all I can ask from my teammates.”

Cannon said 2020 was “a really rough year” for Bozeman’s seniors. She was proud of them for showing tenacity.

“I think that was just really impressive how they fought for each other,” Cannon said. “They brought us together, all seven of them.”

After all the challenges her team worked through, Schell was disappointed the season ended the way it did.

However, that didn’t erase her feeling of accomplishment.

“I don’t care if we win or lose, I get to play with my family,” Schell said. “And I just think that’s success.”

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Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.

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