On Saturday, the Century Patriots Soccer Team will play the WDA Championship match against Bismarck. Century believes their journey throughout the season can result in a win on Saturday.
Ahead of the WDA Tournament, the Century Patriots are one of the hottest teams on the west side. Almost a month has passed since their last loss and the massive improvements have been apparent to head coach Ryan Okerson.
“At the beginning of the year here, it was a lot of big balls,” said Okerson. “Bringing the ball over the top, using our midfield, and since then, we’ve been utilizing the midfield and using our passes the way we wanted them to.”
Coach Okerson isn’t the only one taking notice. The players feel they’re playing their best, too.
“I think this last half has been pretty good for us,” senior Jacob Schwarz said. “We’ve been really working and we know that we want it so we’ve been working really hard.”
But what has contributed to the turnaround? Ask any player and they would say their uncharacteristic tie with Jamestown back on Sept. 10.
“Towards the end of that game, we kind of just got complacent and stopped,” said senior Teddy Hardmeyer. “And we ended up tying that game and that was a huge wake-up call.”
The match Saturday will be Century’s biggest test, facing Bismarck, who they lost to and tied with this season.
“It’s a different level of expectations for the players,” Okerson said. “It’s a different atmosphere, the tackles are harder, everything seems to be amped up for those games.”
Add the pressure of a No. 1 seed on the line and the Patriots know this is the moment they’ve played all season for.
“Obviously, we know that the games here on out are must-win games,” said Schwarz.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors on the team this year,” Hardmeyer said. “And no one wants to go out on a loss or something disappointing, so we’re just going to rally and play to that final whistle and do whatever we can to get that win.”
Century’s showdown with Bismarck will kick off at approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday in Mandan.