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David Griswold, Published June 04 2010

ND state girls soccer: Muller helps West Fargo upset West's No. 1 seed

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – West Fargo’s Andrea Muller has been a key player for the Packers this season, but on Thursday, in the opening round of the North Dakota state girls soccer tournament, the junior was more than just key – she was the key.

Muller scored four goals and had an assist as West Fargo shocked the top-seeded Bismarck Century Patriots 5-1 at the Hillcrest Soccer Complex.

“I feel great,” Muller said. “I’ve never had a game like this in my whole high school career,”

The Packers, who are making their first state tournament appearance since 2006, will now continue play today against the defending state champion Fargo South Bruins at 4 p.m. on the East Field.

“We had a great team in front of us,” said West Fargo coach Jon Melendez. “Century is one of the toughest teams. They played tough against us.”

Tough may be an understatement as the Patriots entered the tournament with an 11-1-3 overall record and had only allowed six goals throughout the entire regular season, but the Packers stepped up when it counted.

“We just wanted to try and do our best,” Muller said. “We were the underdogs, so we just wanted to win.”

Muller set up Tia Lopez, who had five goals on the year heading into the tournament, in the 16th minute to put Century on its heels right out of the gates.

Patriot goalkeeper Caja Sipes laid out to try and get a hand on a loose ball in front of the net, but she came up empty and Lopez was able to scoot a shot into a wide open net to put the Packers up 1-0.

“West Fargo showed up to play hard,” Century coach Sarah McNulty said. “They came out strong and tested us physically. I’m not sure if we were ready for that right away.”

The No. 4-seeded Packers (8-4-6) kept pressuring the No. 1 team from the West and in the 36th minute Muller found the back of the net for the first time with a header off a corner kick from Kelsey Kloos.

“(Muller), Kelsey Kloos and Tia Lopez create a lot of offense,” Melendez said. “They connect.”

The Muller-Kloos connection hooked up again in the second half when Kloos set up Muller for a deep shot on the right side in the 46th minute.

“I’m so excited, I can’t even describe it,” said Muller, who is playing in her first state tournament. “I’m ready to play the next game and maybe get a big win again.”

Muller added two more unassisted goals in the second half to put the Packers up 5-0 before Century’s Erika Jossart spoiled the shutout in the 75th minute.

“When you come to the state tournament, ultimately your goal is to make it to the state final,” McNulty said. “The girls wanted it but maybe they let their nerves get the best of them.

West Fargo netminder Melissa Halda finished the game with nine saves, while Sipes had eight.

The Patriots (11-2-3) now fall into the consolation bracket where they will play St. Mary’s today at 4 p.m. on the West Field.

“It’s going to be a test to find out where our character is,” said McNulty. “We’ve got a strong group of seniors and we want to give them two more games.”

FIRST HALF: 1, WF, Lopez (Muller) 34:35. 2, WF, Muller (Kloos) 35:40.

SECOND HALF: 3, WF, Muller (Kloos) 35:40. 4, WF, Muller 34:34. 5, WF, Muller 5:50. 6, BC, Jossart 5:07.

SAVES: WF, Halda 9. BC, Sipes 8.


David Griswold is a sports writer for The Jamestown Sun, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.