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Published October 13 2010

ND state boys soccer: Unbeaten Shanley isn’t talking about being the favorites

Fargo Shanley boys soccer coach Michael Breker is using last year’s state girls tournament as a motivational tool this week.

Also the head coach of the Fargo South girls, Breker witnessed a pair of No. 4 seeds advance to the title game of last spring’s North Dakota state tournament.

Neither was his team.

The lesson: A top seed does not guarantee anything in the postseason.

“There are no throwaway games,” said Breker, whose undefeated Deacons will take the top seed from the Eastern Dakota Conference into this week’s state boys soccer tournament in Grand Forks. “You have to beat everybody. You can’t play to not lose and there can’t be any letdowns.”

Shanley (16-0-3) had few letdowns during the regular season.

The Deacons reeled off an impressive 11-game winning streak – allowing just eight goals against teams from North Dakota during the season. Shanley posted 10 shutouts.

“The team chemistry is great,” Breker said. “Whether we’re putting guys on (the field) or taking them off, everyone has been able to contribute.”

Breker said senior Trenton Olson has been the anchor of the defense, playing the entire game for 90 percent of the regular season. Cam Hager leads the team with 15 goals.

Breker said Shanley’s bracket was made tougher last week by a surprising Western Dakota Association tournament.

Regular-season WDA champion Bismarck earned the No. 2 seed and No. 3 St. Mary’s dropped to a No. 4 seed. The Deacons’ side of the bracket also includes the Demons and West Fargo.

Shanley defeated first-round opponent St. Mary’s 3-1 during the regular season.

“We don’t talk about being the favorite,” Breker said. “We just talk about getting through our half of the bracket before we can get to a championship.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com