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Nguyen leads Moorhead by Bemidji in boys soccer

MOORHEAD - Moorhead captain Nick Nguyen got absolutely nothing on a first-half penalty kick in a boys soccer match with Bemidji at Moorhead on Tuesday.

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Moorhead’s Noah Yak battles for control against Bemidji’s Noah Kovach on Tuesday in Moorhead. David Samson / The Forum

MOORHEAD – Moorhead captain Nick Nguyen got absolutely nothing on a first-half penalty kick in a boys soccer match with Bemidji at Moorhead on Tuesday.

His kick didn’t touch the post, the goalkeeper and certainly not the net. The only thing Nguyen got was a field goal, which counts for nothing in soccer.

“Nerves got to me,” Nguyen said. “I was leaning back, and I put it over. I knew I had to keep my composure or else nothing good would happen. I just tried to keep my head up and play a better rest of the game.”

Nguyen didn’t miss the net again, firing in two goals in the second half to lead Moorhead past Bemidji 4-1.

“I knew we had to get something done, so I just tried my best to keep my head,” Nguyen said. “We came out hard in the second half, and I found my chances and I finished them.”

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Nguyen’s chances are coming from a summer in which he worked out three to four days a week and played soccer five to seven days a week. It was by no means a summer vacation, but the work is paying off.

The Spuds are 9-2-1 and have scored 39 goals, 12 of which have come from Nguyen.

“He’s found that extra gear,” Moorhead coach Lance Hansen said. “He’s worked so hard in the offseason on his conditioning and his strength. We can play him 80 minutes where we couldn’t do that last season.”

If there was any Bemidji team to stop the recent skid against Moorhead in boys soccer, it was the current one.

Bemidji was 9-1 coming into Tuesday, giving up two goals in their last nine matches. It didn’t matter, as the Spuds moved to 6-0-1 against the Lumberjacks since their last loss to Bemidji on Sept. 28, 2010.

“The intensity they bring helps us bring out our intensity and it helps us play at our best,” Nguyen said.

Bemidji brought the intensity early, scoring less than five minutes into the game. Noah Kovach fond Leo Spry and Bemidji was up 1-0.

“It was an eye opener,” Moorhead sophomore Noah Yak said. “We were down, and we knew we had to come back.”

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With 13 minutes to go in the half, Nguyen had the ball in the box to the right of the goal. Nguyen centered to Isaac Judisch, who found Yak wide open to knock in the tying goal.

“We just kept working hard, got a couple passes through and it came through the backside and I finished,” Yak said.

With 2 minutes, 30 seconds to go in the first half was when Nguyen sent a penalty kick through the uprights. He would redeem himself 14 seconds into the second half, putting Moorhead on top for good 2-1.

Just 15 minutes later Nguyen would strike again to make it 3-1, and the Spuds rolled from there.

“Over the offseason I worked a lot on my speed and controlling the ball and my finishing,” Nguyen said. “I tried to come back stronger from last year. It’s really helped.”

It’s helped his coach as well.

“He was always a talented player with great ball control and he had a good shot, but he just didn’t have the same conditioning and the same speed,” Hansen said. “He’s a special player. I knew from the first day of practice he was going to be tough to handle for opponents.”

FIRST HALF: B, Spry (N. Kovach), 4:17. M, Yak (Judisch), 27:00.

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SECOND HALF: M, Nguyen (Yak), 40:14. M, Nguyen (Judisch), 55:35. M, Grundstrom (Froslie), 60:17.

SAVES: M, Schmidt 5. B, Cheney 5.

Readers can reach Forum reporter
Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548

Murphy has covered sports in Chicago, Minnesota and North Dakota since 2009, working for The Forum since 2012. Contact: cmurphy@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5548
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