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Magi soccer hands Century first loss of season in 1-0 contest

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN Minot High School junior midfielder Aiden Stewart (right) prepares to shoot the ball past Century senior defender Eric Niyonzima (left) during Saturday afternoon's game at Duane Carlson Stadium in Minot. The Magicians captured a 1-0 victory over the Patriots.

As Saturday afternoon’s contest between Minot High School and Bismarck Century kicked off, MHS head coach Creighton Bachmeier implored the Magicians to play with intensity.

Minot (6-2-1) endured a grueling game and eclipsed Century (6-1-2) during the 1-0 matinee. Throughout the game, the Magi thwarted the Patriots’ offensive attack. Of Century’s seven shots, just two were on goal.

That statistic speaks to Minot’s discipline — a facet of the game that proved crucial for Bachmeier and the team.

“This group has always brought really good into every training session and every match thus far,” Bachmeier said. “It’s now, ‘Can you maintain it?'” The hardest thing to do in sports is being consistent. You did something well. Can you do it again? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you don’t continue to do things the right way.”

Minot senior defender Reegan Meyer delivered the golden goal in the 14th minute. Senior midfielder Cameron Bolinske sent a textbook cross into the box before Meyer buried the header goal.

“It’s all about confidence,” Meyer said. “You have to go and want that ball.”

Preparation met opportunity, and Meyer seized the chance to strike.

“Me and Cam have been playing soccer for a long time,” Meyer said. “Since we were little, we’ve always been doing that play. We just made eye contact. I saw the way that it was set up. It was just perfect.”

Minot’s defense held firm for the remainder of the first half. When the Patriots marched down the field, the Magi reversed the ball with astute defensive plays.

Century did not have much room to operate in the open field during the second half. Although the Patriots recorded 13 corner kicks, the Magi showed a knack for clearing the ball out of harm’s way.

Within the last few minutes of the game, Century scrambled to score from Minot’s side of the field. Playing with poise, the Magi stifled the last-ditch efforts and handed the Patriots their first loss of their campaign.

As Bachmeier discussed the game’s back-and-forth nature, he praised Minot’s work on set pieces.

“In high school soccer, there’s a lot of them,” he said. “Just because the game doesn’t flow as well as it should at times. Guys get tired. Maybe a short bench. You play a lot of games in a short period of time. Fouls tend to happen a lot, especially when you have three games in a week. This is the third one of the week.”

The game was physical and gritty at times, but Minot sophomore goalkeeper JJ Dufner prevailed with two saves and a clean sheet. The Magi stayed aggressive throughout the contest and recorded 10 total shots.

“Boy, were we gutsy for 80 minutes,” Bachmeier said. “That just showed how much heart and energy we actually put into this match. It was fun to watch.”

The Magi will not have much time to rest. They will face Legacy in Monday’s 7:30 p.m. tilt at the Sanford Sports Complex in Bismarck.

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

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