Mandan’s girls soccer team made its mark on the west region last year with a second place finish, and this year they could be even more dangerous.
“Really it’s just a continuation from last year,” Mandan Braves’ Head Coach Stephen Weston said.
That’s a solid foundation for a Mandan soccer team that earned just it’s third state tournament appearance in program history last season.
“You know when you lose a lot of seniors you kind of have to reset, and really we’re just continuing on from the good stuff we started last year and hoping that really bleeds over into this season,” Weston said.
The Braves’ roster will feature at least six seniors, and it’s not just experience that they have on their sid.e
“This year for the first time our skill level is just really stepped up as a team, we’re a skillful team,” Weston said. “We’re able to keep the ball, pass and move, and create a lot of chances. While also, defensively we’re really solid.”
The defensive mentality starts with all-state goalie Quinn Carter.
“Keeping the ball out of the net is what’s important,” Carter said. “We did a really good job of that last year, and I think building up from the defense is what we need to work on. Getting it into that final third and scoring goals from there.”
Braves’ players believe creating opportunities on the offensive end is the most important focus of the preseason, but they have to capitalize before and after the ball hits their feet.
“A lot of talking and a lot of moving,” sophomore Madison Hertz explained. “If you’re not moving from the ball you’re not going to get it. So we’ve got to make sure we’re open and moving around, calling for it is a big part too.”
The Braves found themselves in a lot of one goal games last year, and they hope converting more scoring opportunities will put them at the top of the WDA in 2022
“If we would’ve put some more opportunities away in those games I think we could have put a bit of distance in there, had a little more comfortability in it, so hopefully we can make that happen this year,” Watson said.
Mandan opens its season against Minot on Friday in a rematch of the WDA championship game.