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Tom Mix, Published September 06 2012

West Fargo and Fargo South tie in boys soccer

FARGO – Persistence paid off for the West Fargo boys soccer team on Thursday night.

After creating several fruitless scoring opportunities in their match with Fargo South, the Packers finally broke through midway through the second half.

Senior midfielder Cody Bickler scored the Packers’ lone goal of the match, helping West Fargo post a 1-1 tie with the Bruins in Eastern Dakota Conference boys soccer at Fargo South High School.

Down 1-0 and having seen several scoring chances go bust, Bickler fired a short pass in the Bruins’ box to teammate Lucas Miller. Miller gave it right back to a breaking Bickler, who fired a shot past Bruins goalkeeper Carter Schweitzer.

“That was a perfect pass from Lucas,” Bickler said. “I couldn’t have gotten in that position without him. It was perfect.”

The tie keeps the Packers (4-2-2, 4-1-1 EDC) one point behind the Bruins in the EDC standings.

“That’s just playground stuff they did there,” West Fargo head coach Doug Millar said. “I can’t take credit for that. That is something they did as little kids, but it is still very effective.”

The Packers went on the offensive right from the opening minute, but South (6-0-2, 4-0-2 EDC) was the first to get on the scoreboard when Jacob Weiler split the West Fargo defense in half, firing a shot past Packers goalkeeper Nathan Sample 23 minutes, 44 seconds into the match.

West Fargo put six shots on net in the first half, but never got close enough for a quality chance.

“We had some opportunities,” Millar said. “We dribbled a bit too long, but you want your kids to take shots. We talked about it at halftime and one of our captains said, ‘If we keep playing dump and chase, we are never going to get a good look.’ We needed to shorten our passes. I like to think our fitness allowed us to stay in the match.”

West Fargo’s defense kept South’s leading goal scorer Isaac Kehson from getting comfortable in its zone and isolated the Bruins’ other threats on offense.

Millar said stopping Kehson and Weiler was key for the Packers defense and team’s chances of keeping the match close.

“I think we got too defensive minded in that second half,” Fargo South head coach Dean Hashbarger said. “We weren’t playing to attack and put pressure on them. We were playing to react and you just can’t do that.

“Once we got that goal, we relaxed a little bit and they got the fire in them and started getting after it. It was a great high school match.”

The two teams will lock up again on Oct. 4 in West Fargo, a match Bickler is already looking forward to.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for us,” Bickler said of the tie. “We needed that one point. We will see them again.”

FIRST HALF: 1, FS, Ja. Weiler, (Gubandja), 23:44.

SECOND HALF: 2, WF, Bickler, (Miller), 61:40.

SAVES: WF, Sample 6. FS, Schweitzer 10.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 451-5651