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Rivalry battle

Magi soccer earns 2-2 tie against Bismarck High

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN From left: Midfielder Braden Oswalt, midfielder Aiden Stewart and forward Tristan Brown celebrate Stewart's second goal against Bismarck High. The match finished in a 2-2 tie.

Aiden Stewart strolled off the field at halftime, an ear-to-ear grin spreading across his face.

Minot’s sophomore midfielder had just scored two goals against rival Bismarck High. The tallies marked Stewart’s second and third goals on the season.

The Magi’s home opener ended with the team earning its first point of the season, as the match finished in a 2-2 draw.

Stewart’s first goal at the Optimist Soccer Complex came off a flubbed goal kick. He intercepted the ball outside the box and floated it over Bismarck senior goalkeeper Easton Ford’s head in the 33rd minute.

“I didn’t have the best touch,” Stewart said. “But I saw an opportunity, so I just hit it. It ended up going in.”

Just six minutes later, Stewart struck again against the WDA Preseason Coaches’ Poll’s top-ranked team. The Magi advanced the ball off a free kick, and the sophomore found a way to sneak the ball into the back of the net.

“There was a little commotion in the box,” he said. “I finished up on it, hit it in. It feels amazing, it’s awesome. “

The Demons dominated the ball in the first half, but the undersized Magi capitalized on their few opportunities.

“It’s so much stinkin’ fun to watch these guys compete,” Minot head coach Creighton Bachmeier said. “Yeah, we were probably on the back foot for the majority of the game. We knew Bismarck High coming in was going to be athletic, fast. They finish every single challenge and tackle.”

It took just six minutes for the Demons to find their second-half answer. Senior Mikane Aberle received an assist deep in the box and flicked the ball between the posts.

The visitors continued to push the ball toward the net throughout the second frame. With just over three minutes to play, Bismarck junior defenseman Ethan Weigel fired a deep shot at the upper-left corner.

The ball bounced down off the top crossbar and crossed the plane, 2-2.

The score held, and the Magi’s record moved to 0-2-1 (0-0-1 WDA). Bachmeier said his players tested their toughness.

“The best part about soccer is that it’s not an individual sport,” Bachmeier said. “If you come out disciplined as a unit and as a group, you can go and get points. We had a chance to win this thing. I thought it kind of slipped away from us, and we will have to look at the tape. Overall, it was a fun night.”

Senior goalkeeper Braden Cochran made 11 saves and earned Man of the Match honors from Bachmeier. The Magi scored their two goals on just four total shots.

Bismarck recorded 26 shots, 13 of which were on goal.

Next up, Minot will host the Bismarck Legacy Sabers on Tuesday, August 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Optimist Soccer Complex.

“Gosh, I love coaching this group,” Bachmeier said. “We’re only two weeks in on this thing. They’re just a bunch of selfless dudes that grit things out. Yeah, we haven’t found our first victory yet. But we’ve been in some really good matches, competing, and I can’t wait for the rest of the season to go.”

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.

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