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Tom Mix, Published October 11 2012

Packers move to state semis with win over Minot in boys soccer

FARGO – West Fargo’s Lucas Miller scored both of the Packers goals on Thursday evening at Sid Cichy Stadium.

The first helped the Packers seize momentum, and the second came on a penalty kick early in the second half of West Fargo’s 2-1 win over Minot during the quarterfinals of the North Dakota state boys soccer tournament.

The Packers (14-3-2) advance to play West Region top-seeded Bismarck Century in the semifinals at 7 p.m. today.

“We all knew what we wanted to do and for the most part we came out and did that,” Miller said. “There were a few mix-ups. It was definitely the first game of the tournament and I think we showed that, but I’m overall happy with it. It was a team effort.”

Miller has scored 20 goals this season.

The senior forward got the Packers on the scoreboard 21 minutes, 52 seconds into the match when he booted a shot in the upper right corner of the net out of the reach of Minot goalkeeper Garrett Weishaar.

The victory avenges an early exit from state last season.

“Last season we ended our season a little short losing in the quarterfinals,” Miller said. “The big thing was winning this match and going from there.”

A hand ball penalty on Minot allowed Miller to give the Packers a chance at a two-goal cushion.

Once again Miller got the better of Weishaar.

“You practice and practice and practice them,” Miller said of penalty kicks. “We just went over them (Wednesday), so we were all pretty confident. There are five other guys on this team that could have done the same thing.”

The penalty kick ended up being the game-winner after Minot made a late surge in the final 15 minutes of regulation.

Minot’s Benjamin Love got a ball past West Fargo junior goalkeeper Nathan Sample with 5:28 left to play to break up the shutout bid.

“It went well,” said Sample, who was making his first state tournament start. “We could have played better, but we all came out hard and got the win. That is all that matters.”

Weishaar finished with 12 saves for the Magicians (12-5-2). Minot plays Grand Forks Central at 3 p.m. today in the consolation semifinals.

“We played for 15 minutes out of 80, and that is not enough to win especially against a good team,” Minot head coach Cody Saunders said. “Their midfield dominated the match in the first half. Our midfield and our defense were not communicating enough. The last 15 minutes we took control, but it wasn’t enough.”

FIRST HALF: 1, WF, Miller, (Dreher), 21:52.

SECOND HALF: 2, WF, Miller, 42:33 (pk). 3, M, Love, (Bolinske), 74:32.

SAVES: M, Weishaar, 12. WF, Sample 8.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562