Century squelches Minot’s playoff hopes

Saturday was more of the same for the Minot High School girls soccer team.

The Majettes displayed stout defense, but ultimately failed to generate goals as their season came to an end.

Second-place Bismarck Century defeated MHS 2-0 at Herb Parker Stadium behind first-half scores from junior Joanna Jensen and senior Haley Mills. The Majettes (3-5-2) finished the season one point out of fourth place in the West Region, which is the final slot to qualify for the state tournament.

“We just didn’t finish this year,” MHS coach Matt Pfau said. “We had chances, created opportunities, and we just struggled to put the ball in the net. Some of it was unlucky, some of it was we were just young and we need to get more comfortable with that and get better at it for next year.”

Minot created a few scoring opportunities but Century controlled the possession, particularly in the first half.

The Patriots (6-3-1) got on the board six minutes, three seconds into the contest after a Minot defender was whistled for a hand ball in the box. Jensen buried the ensuing penalty kick into the lower right part of the net.

Most of the action was on Century’s offensive side of the field in the first 40 minutes, forcing Minot sophomore Kaitlyn Stenberg to make seven first-half saves.

The Patriots scored their final goal with 9:22 remaining before the break. The ball squirted free in the 18-yard box to Mills, who quickly tapped the ball into space and hooked a shot just below the crossbar.

“It was a great team effort,” Century coach Nate Ulness said. “The whole group got stuck in. A couple of our players took the game on their shoulders and really got everyone bunkered in and stuck in for the match, and we were able to work the ball around.”

Jensen was particularly dangerous. The tall forward routinely held possession and threaded balls through the MHS defense to continue the Patriots’ attack.

“Joanna was able to check back into the spaces and work the ball around and get it out wide for us to keep it,” Ulness said. “From there we were able to hit if over the top to our forwards.”

Minot only placed one shot on goal in the first half – a bouncing header by sophomore Malena Lennon that Century keeper Amanda Leintz scooped up.

The Majettes created more opportunities in the second frame, but couldn’t connect. With 17:25 remaining, sophomore Teasha Hughes got loose near the edge of the 18-yard box but blasted a shot that sailed wide of the goal.

Around the three-minute mark, MHS junior defender Chenoa Erz bombed a shot from 40 yards out. The ball bounced high off the turf and glanced harmlessly off the right post and out of bounds.

“I am regretful that we didn’t make it (to state),” Hughes said, “but I think we worked really hard and played good towards the second half when we really wanted it.”

Stenberg finished with 15 saves for the Majettes, who lose only midfielder Clare Super to graduation.