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West Fargo shuts out Minot in state opener

West Fargo's Levi Larteh kicks the ball past Minot's Jordin Lennon during Thursday's North Dakota state soccer tournament in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden / Forum News Service1 / 2
West Fargo's Telvin Vah looks to kick the ball during Thursday's North Dakota state soccer tournament against Minot at Cushman Field in Grand Forks. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service2 / 2

GRAND FORKS — A lengthy wait and brutal conditions did little to slow down the West Fargo boys soccer team Thursday.

Lucas Simon and Daniel Collins each scored goals and the Packers took care of Minot 2-0 in the opening round of the North Dakota state tournament at Cushman Field.

Already slated to be the last of four games played on the day, the matchup was pushed back further as the tournament was delayed two hours so crews could clear off snow from a blizzard that came through the night before.

The start then came even later, as a pair of overtime games prevented the team's from starting until around 9:30 p.m.

And while the long layoff seemed to affect the West Fargo offense early, the Packers speed and swarming attack eventually got them through to the next round.

In the 21st minute, forward Lucas Simon corralled a loose ball at the 15-yard line and slid a shot into the Minot goal.

The score kick-started a strong, 10-minute surge of open shots, but it didn't lead to any goals, as the Magicians kept the deficit at one at the break, despite the Packers holding a 6-1 edge in shots in the first half.

But Minot could only keep the high-powered Packers at bay for so long, as the electric duo of Telvin Vah and Daniel Collins delivered a crushing blow in the second half.

With 27:18 to play, Vah delivered a bullet in traffic, that a cutting Collins tapped in for his 28th goal of the season.

"We struggled a little bit in the first half controlling the ball on the slick surface, but we got it together," Packer Coach James Moe said. "The cold, it affected us, but we can't let that be an excuse because everyone's playing in it."

It was more than enough for a West Fargo defense, which withstood a few clean Magician looks in the first half before suffocating them in the second.

"I think they played fantastic," Moe said of the defense. "Any time you don't give up those shots, those scary opportunities for the other team's offense, that's what we want. We want to make the goalie's job easy on him. Every team's going to get their chances and we've got to make sure we're shutting them down."

The Packers, who made the hour-plus long trek back to West Fargo afterwards, take on Bismarck Century, the top seed out of the West, at 6:45 Friday.

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