MELLENBRUCH: Youth soccer success, titles bleeding through to high school program

Youth and inexperience go hand in hand. No surprise there.

But Minot High’s girls soccer team promises to be an outlier from that reality. Despite losing six seniors to graduation in 2015, the Majettes are already confident ahead of this year’s campaign.

And why shouldn’t they be?

Despite their inexperience on the varsity field, they’ve been playing together for quite some time.

The results are obvious.

“Our passes are more coherent,” Minot junior midfielder Sofia Lewis said. “I would say there’s even more continuity between everyone because there are a lot of club girls that came up from being eighth-graders, and we’ve been playing with them for a while. There aren’t a lot of the senior girls that left that ever played club with us, so the girls we have played a lot together as a team.

“It’s just connecting. Things are connecting a little bit more this year.”

A result of their offseason training, to be sure.

A handful of Majettes – including sophomores Kelsi Mensen and Miya Lennon – just won a U-16 state indoor championship a few weeks ago, topping Mandan S.C. in the title game.

In all, Magic F.C. – Minot’s youth soccer organization – won 10 of a possible 15 state championships at the State Indoor Cup, taking the overall team title by a considerable margin to cement yet another solid indoor season.

“We just want to keep growing,” said Jason Spain, director of coaching for the Minot Soccer Association.

The Majettes hope to display effects of that growth this spring.

Lewis and Mensen are already among the best dribblers in the state. Their awareness is outstanding for players of their age, and with Lennon – another club starlet, and perhaps the best pure goal scorer in North Dakota – playing up top, Minot will be very dangerous going forward, indeed.

“The girls that are playing for Minot High, even the young ones, are fierce competitors,” said Nate Gutierrez, who coached Minot’s U-16 girls to their most recent championship. “We had a long winter, and they played a lot of games. But because we played so many games and faced so much adversity, when we reached the state tournament, it looked easy. The girls are just exuding confidence right now.”

Said Lennon: “We know where we’re going to be on the field. We don’t even have to talk to each other. We can just sense each other out there. There’s good chemistry on this team.”

This is the opinion of Joe Mellenbruch, sports editor of The Minot Daily News. Joe covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.