The Bismarck boys soccer team flashed some weapons new and old in Tuesday’s West Region opener against St. Mary’s. And if the 2-0 victory over the Saints was any indication, the Demons shouldn’t have any trouble scoring goals this season.
Sophomore Hunter Johnson notched his second of the young season and Cole Olson, Bismarck’s leading scorer last year, netted his first as the Demons grabbed an early lead and coasted to victory against previously unbeaten St. Mary’s.
“We came out here ready to play,” said Olson, a senior midfielder. “We were excited to play. Coming out here and getting a result like this against one of the better teams is a promising start for us.”
Bismarck controlled most of the first half, on the field and on the scoreboard. The Demons grabbed the lead on a corner kick in the eighth minute when Johnson headed in a cross from Willi Ulness.
“He’s a sparky kind of player,” Bismarck coach Tim Green said. “He gets forward, he’s fast, he’s got a nose for the goal — he’s a true forward, and they’re hard to find. They want to score all the time, every time.
“That competitive edge, along with his speed — and he showed me a little technical (ability) that I haven’t seen from him in a little bit,” Green continued. “That was nice to see. He can get in behind defenders and cause lots of problems.”
Bismarck doubled its advantage in the 24th minute when Olson pounced on a turnover and found the net from about 25 yards out.
“I just turned and saw the goalkeeper was a little off his line, so I just tried to put it over the top of him,” Olson said.
At that point St. Mary’s looked rattled, picking up a pair of yellow cards just seven seconds apart. Bismarck (2-0-1) clearly had the Saints on their heels.
“We were finding our forwards’ feet a lot,” Olson said. “Willi was getting the ball a lot and playing off to me and Cody (Evanson). We were hitting our outside mids pretty well. We were just clicking.”
St. Mary’s was better in the second half and did threaten a few times. In the 46th minute Ryan Martire tested Bismarck’s Michael Matzke, but the senior keeper made the save.
“Having a first-time goalkeeper like Michael Matzke coming out here and putting on a shutout like that — it was save after save, good saves,” Olson said. “He was the MVP of the game for sure.”
Midway through the second half Martire created another dangerous chance on a corner kick, but the Demons cleared his cross away before the Saints could generate a shot.
Peter Manstrom, St. Mary’s first-year coach, was happier with his team’s effort after intermission.
“We weren’t communicating. That was our big issue,” Manstrom said. “Because of that, everything else shut down. All of our passing shut down. We were just getting the ball and turning it over in the first half. The second half we were just going to it. … You get the first one over with, move past it and it gives us fire moving forward.”
First half: 1. B, Hunter Johnson (Willi Ulness), 7:04. 2. B, Cole Olson (unassisted), 23:02.
Second half: No scoring.
Halftime: B 2, SM 0.
Goalkeeper saves: SM — Jordan Smith 5. B — Michael Matzke 11.
Records: SM 0-1-0, 2-1-0; B 1-0-0, 2-0-1.
Century 5, Mandan 0
After getting shut out twice in the season-opening East-West crossover, the two-time defending state champs broke out in a 5-0 win over Mandan.
Jacob Richter scored twice for the Patriots (1-1-1). Seth Kreft scored on a penalty kick and set up Richter’s second goal. Cody Dewitt and Wyatt Holwagner also scored for Century.
“Better we get our lumps out of the way the first week instead of at the end of the year,” Century coach Nate Ulness said. “… It was great to get a win under our belt and get that rhythm for our boys. I’m proud of the effort they brought out tonight and the way they bounced back from the weekend.”
A young Mandan team dropped to 0-3-0.
“We have some defensive adjustments we need to make to improve going into Thursday when we play St. Mary’s,” Mandan coach Tyler Gerhardt said. “That’s the main thing.”
First half: 1. C, Jacob Richter (unassisted), 15th minute. 2. C, Seth Kreft (penalty kick), 20th minute. 3. C, Cody Dewitt (Christian Bowlinger), 32nd minute.
Second half: 4. C, Richter (Kreft), 50th minute. 5. C, Wyatt Holwagner (direct kick), 79:12.
Halftime: C 3, M 0.
Goalkeeper saves: C — Zach Sweep 1. M — Peter Liffrig 21.
Records: M 0-1-0; 0-3-0; C 1-0-0, 1-1-1.