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Fargo teams derail soccer squad

Two losses, both heartbreakers, to Fargo teams sent the West Fargo Packer girls soccer squad spinning last week, but the news wasnt all bad.

Sandwiched around those two losses were a pair of key victories, as the third-place Pack put some distance between those trying to derail their State Tournament hopes.

Those were the games we had to have, Jim Flores, head coach of the Packers, said of wins over Grand Forks Red River and Devils Lake. You worry about those, and then you worry about seeding later. If were the No. 3 team or No. 4 team, then thats the place we have to be. But we were hoping we could move up.

Those hopes were all but dashed with a 3-1 loss at home against Fargo South last Thursday, and a 3-2 heartbreaking loss at Fargo North on Monday night.

The Bruins put on a dominating defensive performance Thursday, creating counter-attack opportunities that led to two of their three goals and shutting down the Packer offensive duo of Jill Kussatz and Nicole Hertel. Their game plan executed to a tee, the Bruins all but wrapped up the East Region title with the road victory, with just two games left in the season and a two-game lead over the second place Spartans.

North, meanwhile, took advantage of an own goal in the early minutes of Monday nights contest, played in cool, wet conditions under the lights at North High. The Packer defense, trying to control a cross in the box, deflected a shot into its own net, past netminder Marie Johnson, and the Spartans took a 1-0 lead.

They would extend their lead to 2-0, scoring about 10 minutes later, this time with their own offensive attack.

West Fargo didnt fold, however. They would rally back on a goal by Kussatz before the end of the half. That cut the lead to 2-1, and a good final 40 minutes would have put the Packers in great shape.

But Sue Obermiller, one of the leading scorers in the state this season, scored the pivotal goal of the match, beating Johnson just 43 seconds into the second half to make it a 3-1 game.

The Packers responded again, again with a goal from Kussatz. But Maggie Olson made key saves down the stretch for North, winding up with 10 on the night, and the Spartans held on for a 3-2 win.

Last Saturday, West Fargo rolled to a home victory over the Devils Lake Firebirds, 5-0, with three goals by Hertel. In all, the team fired 20 shots on the game.

The win was a notable one only because it put the Packers four points clear of Red River and Fargo Shanley with just two games left to play in conference action. After a weekend of playing teams from the West Region in the final East/West Crossover match in Fargo, West Fargo will host Central on Monday night. Next Thursday, May 25, theyll be at home once again, this time against Shanley, in a game that should decide the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds at State, June 1-3 in Minot.

The Deacons upset the Packers 5-3 at Johnson Field earlier this month. It was a game that Flores said his squad let get away after leading 2-0 in the early going.

If were going to be a good team, we cant let things like that happen, he said. We need to play with intensity for the full 80 minutes. When we let up, against a good team especially, bad things are going to happen. And at State there are no bad teams.

West Fargo will play Bismarck at 10 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a match with Mandan at 2 p.m. Both contests will be played at Johnson Fields on field No. 4. The Johnson Fields are located just south of North Dakota State Universitys public parking lot on 11th Avenue North.