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Packers split games at state soccer tourney

West Fargo’s Amin Ahmed (3) and Abdi Gedi (10) pass the ball down the field past St. Mary’s Jacob Brucker (4) during the North Dakota Boys’ State Soccer tournament in Jamestown on Thursday. Carrie Snyder

The Packers were in position to potentially earn a third-place finish in the North Dakota state soccer tournament in Jamestown, but Mother Nature had a different idea.

The Packers rolled past Bismarck St. Mary’s 3-1 in Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup, but fell 3-1 to Bismarck High in the semifinals on Friday.

They were set to face off against Minot High for third place on Saturday, but heavy rain caused tournament officials to cancel the game, awarding both teams a tie for third place.

West Fargo got a strong performance in the quarterfinals from senior midfielder Zuheer Al-Abase, who had a goal and an assist against St. Mary’s.

They also got a goal from senior forward Abdi Gedi and junior midfielder Ben Prochniak.

The Packers’ semifinal game proved a difficult one, as the team was unable to respond to Bismarck’s offense.

“I actually thought we were the better team,” head coach James Moe said. “They just made their shots, and we made a few simple mistakes.”

Zuheer Al-Abase scored the team’s only goal with less than 10 minutes left to play.

Two West Fargo seniors were named to the All-Tournament Team: Gedi and Al-Abase.

“Abdi constantly made the defense work,” Moe said. “He gave us a lot of chances, and Zuheer made great passes all weekend. They both play extremely well.”

Moe was also named the 2013 State Coach of the Year.

“I’m extremely happy,” Moe said. “A little shocked, but very excited. Really, though, the guys made me look good all season. They executed everything we have discussed. Overall, they are a great group of kids working hard, and I thought we achieved what we set out for.”