Red Rocks

Red Rocks

Sunday, October 13, 2013

And so it goes...

So yesterday was ND Boy's Soccer state championship day. The games were scheduled for Jamestown but after 8 games and 3 days of rain Rotary Field at the high school was unplayable. In the late semifinal Friday night against Minot Century wore white and Minot Maroon. Conditions were so muddy that by the end it was Century in medium Gray and Minot in deep Gray. It was decided to cancel the 3rd and 5th place games so Minot and West Fargo both place third, and Shanley and St. Mary's both placed fifth.

The not-yet-completed stands and press box at Shiloh Christian High School Miller Field

The NDHSAA (wisely) took a page from previous history and moved the final back to Bismarck where it was sunny and windy but more importantly, there is a brand new artificial turf field at Shiloh Christian's Miller Field. I think it was 1997 when the BHS vs. St. Mary's Final had to be moved to Bismarck from Jamestown due to weather and field conditions. (Despite Joe Towle's best efforts, the Demons prevailed for their last state soccer championship.) I sat with Luke and Will in the Century section while Earthgirl went down to the field to take these incredible pictures.

Brad Kelly defended by Cody Evanson
A pretty good crowd showed up for the game which started at 3:00. BHS had the best early chances relying - as they have for all of Tim Green's time as head coach - on a Through Ball/Long Ball/We've got the fastest guy on the field approach. The Century defense withstood the challenge and settled down. Scoreless first half and it was obvious by then that this was going to be a one goal game, it was just a question of who would get the break or take advantage of one.
Keeper Zach Sweep ready to rock one down the field
Matt MacArthur takes a ball between Willi Ulness and Cole Olson

Century's best chance in regulation was a 30 yard rocket of a shot by Richter that hit the crossbar. 0-0 at the end of regulation so then they played two scoreless 10 minute overtimes. By this point Century's depth and conditioning were starting to show, and they had been controlling play since early in the second half. BHS had almost no time with the ball in either overtime, but prevented a Century score. Max Cook did put one in in the second overtime but it was disallowed because of offsides.

Wyatt (#2 !) Holwegner goes up for a header
That brings us to the shootout. In North Dakota high school soccer the rule is you put all 10 potential shooters in order on the field before it starts so coaches can't change the order or shooters after that. There is a coin toss to see who goes first, and BHS got first shot. The penalty spot is 10 yards back from the center of the goal. The goal itself is 24 feet wide and 8 feet high, and the goalkeeper must be stationary with feet on the goal line when the kick is taken. The teams alternate until the first five have all kicked or until one team is mathematically eliminated.

Needless to say, the advantage is with the kickers. Cole Olson of the demons drained the first kick but Matt MacArthur of Century answered right back. 1-1. Then Willi Ulness (Sidenote: the younger brother of CHS head coach Nate Ulness) put a ball hard and low toward the left corner but Century keeper Zach Sweep got a touch on it and it rolled wide.

Sweep gets his right hand on the ball from Ulness

Dominic Neameyer coolly put the next one in and it is Century ahead 2-1. The next Demon shooter in Cody Evanson (who Luke and Will played U16 with during the summer ) and he puts a hard shot low and to the right, but again Sweep lays out and deflects the ball wide.

Jacob Richter of CHS puts the left footer in and it is 3-1 Century.

At this point most of the pressure shifts to BHS since they have to make both remaining shots and Century only needs one to win and none and guaranteed a tie after the first five. If it is tied after 5 each, it becomes a "golden goal" situation where the first made goal is the game winner, which would be a huge BHS advantage since they shoot first.

The next Demon shooter is another summer teammate of Luke and Will's named Cole Lawrence. Without fanfare he made a clean shot. Century's 4th shooter was junior defenseman Anthony Morrell. His shot was too close to the keeper and the diving Matzke stopped it. The score is now 3-2 CHS with one shot apiece remaining.

The final Demon shooter was a kid who played JV for them all year but was rostered for the tournament, and I think it was his first appearance for the tournament. What pressure, but Ari Rasidovic buried the shot.

It is now 3-3 but Century gets the last shot. A make and they win, a miss and it goes to the first goal wins phase of the shootout. Century's final shooter is an exchange student from Germany named Julian Wilhelm. He played on Hunter's championship team last year, and scored the only goal in the 1-0 Century win over Fargo Davies in Thursday. Steps up, sets, and pushes the ball softly into the net where the goalie was before he dived hard to his left in anticipation of another low hard ball.

Julian setting up


And with that Century Boys are the 2013 State Champions, and completed the Threepeat. They have played in the last 5 championship games winning 3, and won 4 of the last 7 championships.

Mr. Green in disbelief AGAIN

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