By Tyler Shoberg
It's early yet, but the West Fargo girls soccer season is shaping up nicely.
In their first week of competition, the Packers are undefeated after four games. It's a marked difference from last year, when they were 1-3-0 after the same stretch.
Last Tuesday, West Fargo won its season opener 3-0 against Fargo South, a historically strong opponent that finished last season as the Eastern Dakota Conference runner up, and went on to place third at the state tournament.
It's the first time the Packers have beaten the Bruins since a 1-0 upset in the state tournament semifinals in 2010; the year West Fargo won an unprecedented school-first state championship in textbook underdog fashion.
With the absence of 13 seniors from the previous season, however, this year's Bruins (1-3-0) may not yet be of the caliber their opponents are used to. Even so, that shouldn't detract from the Packers' victory; especially given they continued the momentum throughout the week.
On Thursday, West Fargo visited Devils Lake and picked up a lopsided 9-0 win. The Firebirds (0-2-0) were scored on by Hayley Walsh in the first 2 minutes of play, and it was all downhill from there. By game's end, freshman Ashley Greenlund had scored twice and offered up two assists, and more than a half dozen Packers had a hand with goals.
Scoring was a bit tighter during Saturday's East/West Crossover in Mandan.
In the first game, Mandan picked up a goal at the 55-minute mark of the second half, causing West Fargo to scramble to catch up. But four minutes later, West Fargo freshman Ali Enno tied things at 1-1, a score that would stick until the bitter end.
It wasn't for lack of trying on West Fargo's part. Braves' keeper Abbey Renken was a big reason for her team's steadfastness, and stopped 11 shots in the game. By comparison, West Fargo's Amy Archibald had four saves, while her replacement, Maranda Thomason, had one.
As they did the against Mandan, the Packers were forced to play catch-up in the crossover's final game against Bismarck St. Mary's after they scored just five minutes into the game.
Finally, at 59 minutes in the second half, junior Mara Lopez found the back of the net, with an assist from Enno. Again, the 1-1 tie wouldn't break through the end of the game.
Enno has been a welcomed surprise to West Fargo's ranks this year. With three goals and an assist, the forward has been an offensive threat. Likewise, junior Lopez, also has three goals on the season.
While the Packers may be unbeaten at the moment, a pair of unbeaten competitors could give them trouble this week.
On Tuesday, the Packers were scheduled to face Shanley (2-0-0, 3-0-1), but results were unavailable by press time. West Fargo gets a visit from Fargo Davies (2-0-0, 4-0-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
It will take the same drive they've possessed to this point for West Fargo to continue their success through the season.