New home, new season for Magi soccer

Alex Eisen/MDN Magi junior Walter Markle (center) takes a shot Tuesday in Minot High’s alumni game that was played at the Optimist Soccer Complex.

Under the lights at Duane Carlson Stadium won’t just be reserved for the Minot High School football team this season. With new turf getting laid down, the Magicians soccer team will also have a new venue to call home.

While the field won’t be ready for the home opener on Aug.20, Minot is scheduled to play its first soccer game at Duane Carlson Stadium the following week on Aug. 27 against Legacy.

The change of scenery provides a little extra motivation leading into a new season, and the new-look Magi are eager to get going.

“We have a lot of older, leadership guys that haven’t had a lot of varsity experience,” MHS head coach Creighton Bachmeier said. “The best part about high school athletics is new opportunities for new faces. I can’t wait for these guys to finally get their chance to go out and compete in varsity matches.”

That said, Bachmeier knows his team will have to rely heavily on the returners who have varsity experience to draw from.

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High junior Kameron Foley (left) cuts with the ball against the MHS alumni team Tuesday in Minot.

Usually, a host of seniors can fill that void, but the Magi turn to a trio of juniors: midfielder Walter Markle, midfielder Cameron Bolinske and defender Reegan Meyer.

“They have played a lot of minutes,” Bachmeier said. “They are skilled guys, high IQ guys. I’m excited to see them go up another level now that they are considered upperclassmen.”

Markle has occupied a starting role on the team since he was in middle school and was named to the All-WDA team last season.

“We have good chemistry,” Markle said. “We are really selfless and play really well together… If we are selfish, that’s going to hurt us. But I don’t think we will have that problem.”

Bachmeier echoed that assessment.

“This group is probably one of the most selfless groups we have ever had,” he said. “Not sure how good we are going to be early, but I think this group will find their discipline when it comes to our defensive structure and be solid toward the end. It’s definitely going to be a work in progress.”

The Magi have lost All-State players Cody Burke and Noah Schmidt, along with a pair of essential goal scorers from a season ago in Jordin Lennon and Courage Amsbury.

Look for junior Kameron Foley up front to pick up some of the goal scoring and sophomore midfielder Ezra Hagerott to link play together.

“We aren’t as skilled as we have been in year’s past,” Bachmeier said. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t go out and compete for the highest trophy.”

The last five seasons Minot High and Bismarck Century have rotated in winning the WDA regular-season title. If this sequence holds, the Magi will capture the program’s sixth WDA title this season.

Century has won the last three WDA Tournaments.

Nonetheless, Bismarck High was predicted to top the West Region in the preseason coaches’ poll with five first-place votes and 34 points. Century was second with 31 points, and Minot slotted into third with 25 points.

Century defeated Bismarck High, 3-1, in the state tournament third-place game last season. Minot lost in the first round to eventual state champions West Fargo, 2-0.

Then-junior goalkeeper Braden Cochran made five saves in the contest, but it wasn’t enough as the Magi dropped its fifth straight state quarterfinal match.

“We have to be more efficient and tighter in the back,” Cochran said. “We are trying to minimize those mistakes. I think that will lead to more success this year.”

The Magi open the season with the East-West Crossover this afternoon in Jamestown with games against Fargo Davies at 2 p.m. and West Fargo at 5 p.m.

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.