Coaches report: Minot girls soccer HC Matt Pfau
The Minot Majettes plan to kick off their 2021 soccer season Friday night with a road match against Mandan at 7:30 p.m.
According to Magi head coach Matt Pfau, currently in his 20th season with the program, the girls began practice March 29 and had approximately 50 participants from grades 7-12. The team enjoyed great success in 2019 with a 12-3-1 record, a WDA West Region Tournament title, and a second-place finish at state.
The Minot Daily News reached out to coach Pfau to get his perspective on the new season and what his expectations are moving forward. Here is what the coach had to say via email.
MDN: What are your expectations for the team this spring?
Pfau: The expectation is to get better every day. I believe we can compete for the WDA title and that’s the goal to start the year. I don’t really concern myself with the state tournament because we have to take care of business in the WDA to have a chance for that to happen.
MDN: With the spring sports calendar being interrupted last year because of the virus, how will the extended time off impact the athletes this season?
Pfau: It will affect them a little, no doubt, but most of the girls have played a full winter indoor season and some have been involved in other sports. They just need to get used to playing together 11-on-11 on the big field now.
MDN: Finishing runners-up at state in 2019, do you feel the team can pick up where they left off?
Pfau: We have 13 girls back that were on that roster in 2019 and nine of them got a lot of playing time. So I think we should be able to compete with anybody. That being said, nothing will be easy. We have to work hard every day because the WDA is always tough and has good coaches who will have their teams prepared.
MDN: Who are some of your top returning players and what makes them stand out amongst the other competitors?
Pfau: Senior forward Lainey Sandberg led the team in goals in 2019, and juniors MaLiah Burke, Morgan Perrin and Mia Lewis are all midfielders who started for us in 2019. Erin Oster is another junior who has put in a lot of time and can play multiple positions.
Defensively, we have Zoe Weishaar, Katie Weaver and Emily Thiele who all started for us in 2019 and Emme Miller returns as our starting goalie. It is nice to have a bunch of juniors and seniors who have played varsity minutes and been in big games. Hopefully that experience will help us early in the season.
MDN: Aside from your more experienced players, which of the other athletes do you expect to make major strides this year?
Pfau: Some younger kids who could really help this year are sophomore Marissa Thorson and freshmen Emerson Perrin, Maicee Burke and Bria Lewis. All are very talented girls, and I’m excited to see them get varsity action this year.
MDN: What is your favorite aspect of beginning a brand-new season?
Pfau: The best part of each season is seeing the growth players make from day one to the end of the season. This year is really special after not getting to play last year because you don’t realize how much you love something until it gets taken away from you. The relationships you make with your team and seeing them achieve the goals they set is a great thing to watch as well.