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Tom Mix, Published October 09 2013

Promersberger provides spark to Shanley's defense

Fargo - Austin Promersberger has been perfecting the art of playing defense the last four years as a member of the Fargo Shanley boys soccer team.

The senior defender, who attends Fargo Oak Grove High School, is a team captain and anchors the Deacons’ back line.

“Every day, every game Austin comes ready to play,” Shanley head coach Michael Breker said. “He is one guy where I can honestly say I’ve never seen him have a bad game.”

Promersberger’s prep soccer career wraps up this weekend at the North Dakota boys soccer state tournament in Jamestown, N.D. East Region top-seeded Shanley opens the tournament with a quarterfinals matchup against West Region, No. 4-seeded Minot at 5 p.m. today at Rotary Field.

Shanley’s co-op program draws players from Oak Grove and Moorhead Park Christian. Promersberger is one of four Oak Grove players competing in the Deacons’ program.

“I have played with a lot of the Shanley guys over the years on other teams,” Promersberger said. “I know them pretty well and I think we have done really well this season.”

Shanley finished the regular season 13-3-2 and enters the state tournament looking for its first state title since 2008.

Breker said Shanley’s strong defense was a big part of the team’s success in the regular season.

The Deacons have allowed 11 goals in 18 matches.

“We really focus on defense,” said Promersberger, who was named to the All-Eastern Dakota Conference team last week. “It helps a lot when you have three really good defenders. Nick Leier and Matt Wolbaum are also on the all-EDC team, so that helps out a lot as well being able to stop teams from scoring.”

Being the defensive leader, Promersberger is assigned the duty of stopping the opposing teams’ top offensive threats.

“Three times a game he’ll do something where you’ll say ‘wow,’” Breker said. “He is really like having a second goalkeeper out there for us. The intensity he brings to the field is a big part of his game.”

As a shutdown defender, Promersberger’s name doesn’t often show up in the box scores of matches, but he did score one goal this season.

“I like scoring goals, but sometimes it is nice to know you can stop someone,” said Promersberger, who also plays basketball and runs track for Oak Grove. “Shutting them down is a good feeling.”

Promersberger’s value can be found in the 11 matches this season in which the Deacons didn’t allow a goal.

“When a goal scorer scores a goal it goes noticed all the time, but when a defender makes a play to break up a scoring chance it sometimes goes unnoticed or unappreciated, but we try to recognize those plays.

“If you can say some of our players on offense are good for a goal a game, you can easily say Austin is good for preventing a goal a game.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562