Packers edge out Majettes in shootout for state title
It was the perfect ending to one of the craziest North Dakota state girls soccer tournaments in the history of the event. West Fargo earned the first state title in school history with a 3-2 shootout win against fellow No. 4 seed Minot on Saturda...
It was the perfect ending to one of the craziest North Dakota state girls soccer tournaments in the history of the event.
West Fargo earned the first state title in school history with a 3-2 shootout win against fellow No. 4 seed Minot on Saturday at Jamestown High School Rotary Field.
"We kind of have a song that we all sing together," said senior Kelsey Kloos, who scored the game-winning goal in the shootout. "It's the song 'Lean on Me,' because that's what all we do. ... We felt like nobody believed in us so we wanted to go out there and show if you play with heart you can go places."
Minot's third shooter missed wide left to open the door for the Packers in the shootout.
Kloos scored on West Fargo's fifth -- and final -- attempt to give the Packers the win.
West Fargo outscored the Magicians 5-4 in the shootout.
"I was confident," West Fargo coach Jonathan Melendez said.
"We practiced Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in this situation. I put pressure on the girls. I said, 'You gotta make this, you gotta make this.' I was confident but you always take chances when you go into a penalty shootout. But we are happy today."
The championship game featured a pair of upstart programs that came out of nowhere to make their mark on the state tournament.
Minot, which never finished higher than sixth in three previous state appearances, knocked off the East's top seed Fargo North 2-0 in the first round. The physical Magicians advanced to the first final in school history with a scrappy 1-0 overtime win against Fargo Shanley on Friday.
The Packers, who crushed West Region top seed Bismarck Century 5-1 in the first round and ousted two-time defending champion Fargo South in the semifinals, took awhile to get going in the title match.
"I think for a state championship (the game) had everything you wanted," Minot coach Matt Pfau said of the championship game. "Goals, yellow cards, overtimes, a shootout. They just got one more than us in the shootout."
West Fargo was unable to mount an offensive attack against Minot's speedy defenders early in the game.
The Magicians played Bailey Bachman-Williams deep in the defensive zone to prevent the Packers from getting a clear look at the goal.
Whenever West Fargo kicked it in close, Bachman-Williams was there to clear the ball out of danger.
Kloos assisted on a Haley Walsh goal to give the Packers a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute.
Kloos helped the Packers to a 2-1 advantage in the 67th minute when her free kick was headed into the net by a Minot player near the goal.
"The girls were peaking at the right moment," Melendez said. "Our progression through the season went up and up and up. And when we got to the state tournament, it was just unbelievable. ... I believed in this team and I believed in this group of seniors that gave us this state title today."
Both teams were aggressive from the start, combining for four yellow cards for various infractions.
Two Packers were carded within minutes of each other in the first half.
The Magicians tied the game at 2-2 with 13:20 remaining in regulation.
There was no scoring from either of the visibly worn-out teams in two 10-minute overtime periods.
"This process began four years ago when I took the head coach position with my co-coach Laura Preston," Melendez said. "We said that we had to work, we had to have a new attitude in soccer. Today it showed. Today it showed what we accomplished four years later and I'm happy.
West Fargo 3, Minot 2
West Fargo 1 1 0 0 1 -- 3
Minot 0 2 0 0 0 -- 2
1, WF, Walsh (Kloos), 39th minute.
2, M, Blada (T. Bachman-Williams), 57th minute; 3, WF, own goal, 67th minute; 4, M, Fowler (Funke), 67th minute.
WF, Johnson, Lothspeich, Voeller, Swanson, Kloos. M, T. Bachman-Williams, Christensen, B. Bachman-Williams, Lee.
Saves: M, Sandvold 6; WF, Halda 7.
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