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Mack, Century advance to state championship against Shanley

FARGO -- The Bismarck Century boys soccer team has a simple strategy.

The Patriots first strive to build an early lead and then sustain it. They do so by playing stingy defense and dominating possession.

That strategy served Century well in the regular season and helped it to a 1-0 win over West Fargo in the semifinals of the North Dakota state tournament on Friday at Sid Cichy Stadium.

Century (14-3-1) advances to its fourth straight title game and plays Fargo Shanley at 3 p.m. today. Dickinson High senior Austin Mack, who co-ops with Century, helped the Patriots defeat Bismarck in last season's state championship game.

"We knew it was going to be a battle," said Century senior forward Alec Rauhauser who scored the lone goal of the match. "It is huge for us to get back into the state championship game and try to defend our title from last year."

Rauhauser put a shot past West Fargo junior goalkeeper Nathan Sample in 24th minute. Senior midfielder Brandon Eckroth got the assist on Rauhauser's goal, which sparked several ensuing scoring chances for the Patriots.

This time, Sample -- who finished with eight saves -- didn't allow any to get by him.

FIRST HALF: 1, BC, Rauhauser, (Eckroth), 24:25.

SECOND HALF: No scoring.

SAVES: WF, Sample 8. BC, Buchholz 7.