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Mack, Century capture back-to-back state titles

FARGO -- Two is better than one as far as Bismarck Century seniors Brandon Eckroth and Alec Rauhauser are concerned.

Eckroth found Rauhauser open in the box for a goal in a 1-0 win over Fargo Shanley for the North Dakota state boys soccer championship on Saturday at Sid Cichy Stadium.

It marked the second consecutive match Eckroth and Rauhauser connected for a goal that resulted in a 1-0 victory. They also accounted for the Patriots' lone goal in a 1-0 win over West Fargo in the semifinals on Friday.

"I saw Eckroth making a run so I ran up there really quick to get up to him," said Rauhauser, who was named to the all-tournament team. "He made a nice cross across the box just like (Friday), and I just slid in there because I knew the defender was coming, too. I got a foot on it and chipped it over the goalkeeper."

Eckroth and Rauhauser's repeat performance sealed a Century state title repeat as well. The Patriots (15-3-1) won state in 2011 and have claimed three of the last six state crowns. Austin Mack, a Dickinson High School senior, aided Century's defensive efforts.

"The guys dug in," Century head coach Nate Ulness said. "It definitely was a program win."

The goal came in the 30th minute of the match, and after that the Patriots went into its control mode.

"After they score you know you are in trouble," Shanley head coach Michael Breker said. "You are not going to get the ball back a lot. We did not make the most of our chances unfortunately. That is how thin the margins are.

"We had a play go off one of their defenders' shin on a fast break. That is way the bounces go sometimes at state."

Breker was named coach of the year.

Shanley had not lost a match to a North Dakota opponent and had won 16 straight matches entering the title game. Shanley's last loss was to Champlin Park (Minn.) on Aug. 18.

Senior goalkeeper Ben Glogoza finished with 12 saves for the Deacons, who ended the season with a 16-2-1 record.

Shanley's offense never got in full gear against the stingy Patriots defense.

Standout strikers Conrad Hager and Danny Bruckbauer were held to few quality chances on net.

"We had to respect them," Ulness said. "We had to respect Conrad's shot. We had to respect (Bruckbauer's) shot. We bunkered in and we knew we had to pressure them. It was a hard-fought effort by the boys. Very impressive."

FIRST HALF: 1, BC, Rauhauser, (Eckroth), 30:00.

SECOND HALF: No scoring.

SAVES: BC, Buchholz, 3. SH, Gologoza, 12.

All-tournament team

Bismarck Century: Austin Mack, Sr., D; Brad Kelly, Jr., M; Brandon Eckroth, Sr., M; Alec Rauhauser, Sr., F; Matt MacArthur, Jr., M.

Fargo Shanley: Ben Glogoza, Sr., GK; A.J. Jacobson, Sr., D; Conrad Hager, Jr., F; Matt Fulks, Sr., F.

Fargo South: Jacob Weiler, Sr., M; Isaac Kehson, Sr., F; Carter Schweitzer, Sr., GK; Felicien Gubandja, Sr., F

West Fargo: Lucas Miller, Sr., F; Zuheer Al Abase, Jr., F; Brady Rotert, Sr., M

Minot: P.K. Annan, Sr., F; Ekow Annan, Sr., F; Ryan Crabtree, Jr., M

Bismarck: Cole Olson Jr., M

Bismarck St. Mary's: Scott Nagel, Jr., F

Grand Forks Central: Hartrick Tarr, Soph., F

Senior athlete of the year

Jacob Weiler, Fargo South

Coach of the year

Michael Breker, Fargo Shanley