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March Mania

Big second half sends Fargo South to state soccer semifinals

MANDAN, N.D. — Fargo South’s dominant second half sent the Bruins to the semifinals with a 3-0 opening-round win over Minot on Monday, Oct. 14, at the North Dakota boys state soccer tournament Starion Sports Complex .

Scoreless at the intermission, South netted three goals in the first 11½ minutes of the second half. Pacifique Sibomana scored 50 seconds into the half, while Niresh Mongar scored South’s other two goals.

“We were hoping to score a little earlier, but give credit to the Minot team for playing well,” South coach Amer Vatres said. “If somebody is defending as well as they did, you have to try something different. We weren’t able to go down the middle very well, so we went outside and we were to have some success.”

Sibomana fired a shot across the goal to make it 1-0 50 seconds into the second half.

Less than four minutes later, Mongar played a pass from Sibomana off his chest, wheeled to his left and buried it for a 2-0 lead. Mongar made it 3-0, beating Minot’s Braden Cochran in the 52nd minute.

“We were a little jittery early in the game, but that’s not unexpected,” Vatres said. “No game at state is easy. Hopefully we’ll come out a little more relaxed tomorrow and play with more composure. Bismarck is a very good team so it should be an exciting game.”

The 10-2-4 Bruins, who outshot the Magicians 11-3, will play Bismarck in Tuesday’s semifinals.

First half: No scoring.
Second half: 1, Fargo South, Pacifique Sibomana, 40:50. 2. Fargo South, Niresh Mongar (Nobin Gurung), 44:39. 3, Fargo South, Mongar (Sibomana), 51:28.
SAVES: Minot, Braden Cochran 5-3—8. Fargo South, Krishna Puwar 1-2—3.

Bismarck 3, Grand Forks Central 2

Scoreless through 40 minutes, Bismarck and Grand Forks Central broke out the fireworks in the second half.

Michael Matthews, Mason Weigel and Mikane Aberle netted second-half goals as Bismarck High held on for a 3-2 victory.

The Demons led 2-0 and 3-1, but William Lawson-Body, a star hockey player for Central, made the Demons sweat out the final 60 seconds with a late goal. However, the Demons were able to see it through.

“We knew it wouldn’t be easy,” said Matthews, the Demons’ standout forward. “No games are easy at state.”

The Demons improved to 14-1-3.

“We did what we needed to do to come out with a win,” Bismarck head coach Andy Foss said. “Give Central credit. They dug in, they didn’t quit, they gave our guys a run for their money. Central is well-coached. I’m proud of our guys for finding a way to win today against a good team.”

The tournament was pushed back four days due to last week’s winter storm. The crew in Mandan had the field totally cleared of snow and most of the bleachers also were accessible.

“I think it was definitely good it got pushed back. We didn’t have to deal with snow, it wasn’t too cold. It was a good day to play,” Matthews said.

Matthews made it 1-0 Bismarck on a rebound goal. Rodrigue Mugisha, Matthews’ partner up top, deftly broke down the Central back line before snapping off a hard shot, which was stopped by Will Howard. The rebound came right to Matthews, who buried it.

“Rodrigue did a really good job getting that first shot off. It came to me and I was able to put it in,” Matthews said. “It’s always good to get the first goal, but we knew it wasn’t over.”

The Demons made it 2-0 on a perfectly executed free kick.

From 20 yards out, Dom Williams ran over the ball while faking a kick. Mason Weigel followed immediately behind and drilled it into the top left corner for a 2-0 lead at the 61:51 mark.

Central answered 10 minutes later with a sharp goal.

Lawson-Body dropped a pass right to the left foot of freshman Conner Noreen, who unleashed a bending laser into the top-left corner.

Bismarck, which had the majority of the ball throughout the match, appeared to get some breathing room at the 76:18 mark. On the break, Matthews sent a perfect ball across to Aberle, who zipped it into the corner.

“I knew I couldn’t take on two guys. I saw Mikane running across and he did a great job finishing it,” Matthews said

The Demons held a 12-11 advantage in shots on goal. They just missed scoring on a first-half corner kick when Mason Stotz’s header banged off the cross bar.

First half: No scoring.
Second half: 1, BHS, Michael Matthews, 52:06. 2. BHS, Mason Weigel, 61:51 (FK). 3. GFC, Conner Noreen (William Lawson-Body), 71:24. 4. BHS, Mikane Aberle (Matthews), 76:18. 5. Lawson-Body, 78:54.
SAVES: GFC, Will Howard 3-6—9. BHS, Easton Ford 3-5—8.
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