GF Central falls in first round of state boys soccer tournament

BISMARCK -- Scoreless through 40 minutes, Bismarck High and Grand Forks Central broke out the fireworks in the second half of Monday’s state soccer tournament opener.

Michael Matthews, Mason Weigel and Mikane Aberle netted second-half goals as Bismarck High held on for a 3-2 victory over Grand Forks Central at Starion Sports Complex in Mandan.

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, who improved to 14-1-3, face Fargo South in the first semifinal match on Tuesday.


“We did what we needed to do to come out with a win,” BHS 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 BHS 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.

BHS, 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.

“We might have been a little rusty, but the amount of time in between games was the same for everybody,” Foss said. “We were moving the ball around well, we just weren’t able to finish a couple of those opportunities. It got a little hectic at the end and we got a little caught up in that. We need to do a better job of keeping our composure, and that starts with me. But we were resilient and kept playing hard until the end.”

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