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Soccer team faces Central today in crucial game

The Packer girls' soccer team is 1-6 in the EDC and in desperate need of a road win today against Grand Forks Central to even hope for a chance to make the state tournament.

West Fargo also needs wins against remaining opponents Devils Lake, Fargo Shanley and Grand Forks Red River to finish in the top four in the EDC for a state tournament berth; there is an EDC tournament in girls' soccer.

The Packers currently sit in sixth place after a 3-1 loss against Fargo North last Thursday, followed by a 2-0 non-conference loss to Bismarck St. Mary's on Saturday.

Today's Grand Forks Central matchup bodes well for the Packers (3-8-1 overall), who won their only EDC game of the season against the Knights 3-0 at home last month.

"I think that we're pretty confident. Every win builds confidence," said Packer co-head coach Laura Preston. "We have a good team, but we don't win. I don't know what the answer is to that, but every time we do win, it just builds confidence that we can win more."

That's why today's game against the Knights is so crucial for the Packers who need to follow it up with three more. If the Packers, who planned on a much more successful season than last year, want to win, they'll have to score goals - something that's been a huge problem for the team the last two seasons.

"Every time we talk to the girls they are just so frustrated. They don't understand why," said Preston. "We practice and practice taking shots and talk about the different things we can do better. I think that all around everyone is just frustrated."

The Packer defense appears to be doing its share of keeping games close and giving the team a chance to win. Preston said the offense has also been doing what its supposed to be doing as well - all except putting the ball in the net.

"We play phenomenally outstanding games against (teams like) Fargo South and Fargo North," she said.

Preston also said she and co-head coach Jon Melendez aren't implementing any changes in search of different results. She pointed out games where the Packers outplayed their competition and kept things close.

"We both decided we don't think we need to change our style of play," said Preston.

Senior captain Cassie Beckerleg said that players aren't giving up despite needing four wins in four games for a state tournament berth.

Beckerleg hopes other West Fargo seniors will realize their soccer days could be numbered unless the wins start coming. She said her final season of soccer hasn't been all fun and games.

"It's all right at times," she said. "It would be a lot more fun if we won, I guess. Hopefully we just make it to state and do well there, and I think we'll make it there."

West Fargo's three remaining regular season games after today will be at home, including Saturday against Devils Lake and Tuesday versus Fargo Shanley. The Packers also host Grand Forks Red River on May 24, at 5 p.m. in a weather-related makeup game.