Century bounces back for soccer win...
Posted 5/09/17 (Tue)
This wasn't a pretty, high-flying victory, but Century girls soccer coach Ryan Okerson said it was just what his young team needed.
The Patriots outlasted St. Mary's 2-1 in West Region soccer Thursday night a the Bismarck Athletic Complex. Century had to grind this one out, and Okerson said it's the kind of win his team needed, especially in the wake of two losses.
"It most definitely was. We've had some key injuries and to have these young kids step up and play like this was huge," said Okerson, who inherited a CHS team that lost 12 players off last year's state championship team to graduation.
Okerson said getting things turned around after setbacks against Fargo North (1-0) and Minot (2-0) was a positive omen.
"This could have been one of those years where we lose it in the middle of the season ... but the girls stepped up and played like they should. They're starting to look like an established team," Okerson observed.
Century had a clear territorial edge in the first half and topped that off with a 6-2 advantage in shots. That, in turn, gave the Patriots a 2-0 lead at the break.
Senior forward Emily Mizell got the ball rolling for Century with a goal in the 10th minute. Mizell took a long feed from Kaia Lembke, squeezed between two defenders 45 yards from the goal and went in alone on Saints goalkeeper Emma Hepper.
Mizell, who notched her first goal of the season, said she didn't try to overthink the opportunity that was before her.
"My coach always says I think too much, and I knew I didn't want to blow it. I'm glad I didn't," she observed.
Senior midfielder Taylor Barth put the Saints in a 2-0 hole in the 27th minute, scoring on a penalty kick.
St. Mary's had the upper hand in the second half, clearly exerting more pressure than Century did after intermission. The Saints outshot Century 4-1 in the second half, but managed just one tally.
Freshman forward Abby Kopp intercepted an attempted clearing kick in the Century end and fed junior forward Britta Curl. Curl converted for her fifth goal of the season, finding the left corner of the net from the right wing in the 59th minute.
St. Mary's was able to get just one shot on net the rest of the way, however.
The Saints' two best opportunities in the waning minutes were by Curl. She shot wide on a free kick from about 25 yards out in the 72nd minute. Later Curl took a feed from Hayley VanderVorste in the slot, but the CHS defense prevented her from getting off a shot.
Mizell said it was good for the Patriots' confidence to defeat an intra-city rival.
"We played really, really hard against Minot and ended up with a loss (on Tuesday)," she noted. "We came off a winning week and went to a losing week. It was important to come back and beat a team we'd tied before."
St. Mary's and Century played to a 1-1 deadlock in their season opener.
Both teams have a break before returning to action. St. Mary's plays host to Jamestown next Tuesday and Century hosts the Blue Jays next Thursday.
STEVE THOMAS Bismarck Tribune
May 4, 2017 Bismarck Tribune Article Link