Packers, Eagles tie in state tourney rematch
The West Fargo boys soccer team's quest for revenge against Fargo Davies will have to wait at least a few more weeks.
In a rematch of last season's state semifinals, the Packers held a lead well into the second half but surrendered a goal in the 51st minute and were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie against Davies in a game at Shanley High School last Tuesday.
The Packers, who saw their quest for back-to-back state titles end with a loss in penalty kicks to the Eagles in the state semis, controlled the ball for most of the first half and went into the break ahead 1-0, thanks to a breakaway goal by Daniel Collins.
But the Eagles turned the tide in the second half, taking control of the middle of the field and eventually tying the score on an acrobatic goal by Jack Olson, who spun around two defenders and ripped a shot by Packer goalie Tommy Klein.
Klein finished with four saves, including an off-balance leaping bat away in the first half, helping West Fargo escape with the tie.
After feasting on weaker opponents early in the season, scoring 25 goals during a 4-0 start, Packer Coach James Moe said his squad's first foray into playing high-level competition was a mixed bag.
"We know Davies is a top team," he said. "They returned most of their team, they're very sound technically. Defensively we held ourselves pretty well, got lost in the midfield a bit. But we've got to be better next game."
Eyeing nothing less than a state title, Moe says his team has mostly achieved its goal of playing at a high level, regardless of competition.
"We're trying to push ourselves every single day in practice," he said. "That's where that competition starts. And if we're not pushing ourselves in practice, we're not going to be ready for these types of games.
"That's the expectation. The guys know that and that's the expectation they want for themselves."
That expectation clearly wasn't met Thursday, as the Packers suffered their first loss of the season, falling 3-2 at home to Fargo South.
Though they still have plenty of time to get back on track, such struggles are clearly bothersome for West Fargo players.
"We (need to win) these games," said Collins, who scored both goals in Thursday's loss. "We've got to work harder. Play harder."
The Packers returned to action with a game against Eastern Dakota Conference foe Grand Forks Central. They also travel to face Sheyenne Thursday and host Holy Family Catholic Friday.
Fargo Davies comes to West Fargo on Sept. 20.