By any statistical measure that matters in soccer, Bismarck High was off the charts this season.

So in that regard, the Demons winning their second state title in the last three years was not terribly surprising.

In 18 matches, BHS scored 67 goals and allowed just 12. But for as gaudy as those numbers look, coach Andy Foss said there was more to their sparkling 15-2-1 campaign.

"I think what stands out was just how hard they played, whether it was in a game or at practice, this group of kids had a great work ethic," he said. "The thing that might get overlooked the most was just how much they enjoyed playing together. On Saturday after that championship, there were a lot of smiles and a lot of hugs. It was a pretty satisfying feeling for everybody."

The eclectic nature of the roster also made for an interesting and enjoyable season. The last names of the senior class alone -- Allen, Gimbel, Kuhn, Lee, Mugisha, Mugwaneza, Ndaberewe, Nazhmudinov and Schmidt -- made for a truly melting-pot feel.

"We have such a diverse team from all types of backgrounds," Foss said. "Everybody's got a story. But those kids got along great. They were committed to each other and what they could do together."

Winning state titles in two of the last three years is an uncommon feat. Since soccer became a sanctioned sport in 1995, only Fargo South (6) owns more championships than the Demons (4). Century also has won it four times.

The 2017 titlists were similar to the '15 champs in that the roster was very veteran. Tresor Mugwaneza, named the Outstanding Senior Athlete on Saturday in Jamestown, played significant minutes in the 2015 championship run, but most everybody else had to wait their turn.

"It really helps to have experienced guys to lean on who have been through big games," Foss said. "Our group of seniors we had this year were a really good group of kids not just in how they played, but with their leadership and showing the younger kids the right way of doing things. They set a great example."

As dominant as the regular season was for the Demons, things did not come easy in Jamestown. All three wins came by just one goal.

"You really wouldn't have expected anything different," Foss said. "Nothing is ever given to you at a state tournament. We were able to beat three really good teams."

Foss said the immediate taste of victory remains strong, but reflecting on the team's many accomplishments will last a lifetime.

"Soccer in North Dakota continues to grow and get better. There are so many talented players and coaches. The teams we played at state from the East (region) were really talented teams. And in the West, Century and Minot had really, really strong teams.

"To be able to get through that and win it is a great accomplishment for our team. I'm really proud of our kids and the season they were able to have."

Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com

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