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State boys soccer: Fargo Shanley upsets No. 1 seed Minot

The only number that really counts was in the Deacons' column in the North Dakota state boys soccer tournament quarterfinals.

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Shanley's Goalkeeper Cole Jaeger dives for the ball in front of a group of players on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, during the North Dakota state boys soccer tournament in Jamestown at Rotary Field. John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — As happens at times, a lot is made of the numbers that accompany teams into the North Dakota state boys soccer tournament.

Minot's numbers were West No. 1 seed, No. 1 in the Western Dakota Association's regular season, No. 1 in the league tournament, 15-1-1 overall record and 38 goals scored.

Fargo Shanley entered as the East No. 4 seed and with a 6-7-4 overall record. But the Deacons moved into the state championship semifinals with the only number that ultimately mattered after 80 minutes, a 1-0 upset of the Magicians on Thursday at Jamestown High School.

"We came into the game as the underdog," said Shanley midfielder Landon Odden, who scored the Deacons' goal on a penalty kick with 16 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first half. "We knew we had to execute every single game plan we put in practice and I think we did that."

As the numbers go, No. 1 on Shanley's pregame to-do list was holding down Minot's prolific offense.

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Minot's Syrus Mayne (24) and Ethan Lantz of Shanley attempt to gain control of the ball on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, at the North Dakota state boys soccer tournament in Jamestown at Rotary Field. John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

A freewheeling first half featured a contrast in styles, with Shanley controlling the ball for a good share of the half and Minot preferring to chase down long lead passes. Both styles produced plenty of solid scoring chances.

Shanley goalkeeper Cole Jaeger and the Deacons' defense were forced to make several sliding stops in the box to keep the Magicians off the board.

On the other end of the field, the Magicians made a couple defensive stops and goalkeeper JJ Dufner made a one-armed save of a hard point-blank shot by Odden with about 21:30 left in the half.

About five minutes after Dufner's save, Shanley's Calvin Montgomery was taken down on the left edge of the box and Odden put the penalty kick just inside the left post.

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Minot goalkeeper JJ Dufner's long stretch came up short during a penalty kick made by Shanley's Landon Odden on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, at the North Dakota state boys soccer tournament in Jamestown at Rotary Field. John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

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It was a matter, then, of continuing to frustrate the Magicians' push upfield.

"They go through the midfield when they bring the ball up," Odden said. "We had a good, strong midfield and we relied on our center backs to keep a high line. They could never really beat it with the through ball."

And Shanley's back end was ready when Minot did.

"We knew they were a tough team," said Jaeger, who made four saves but also took to the ground often to break up Minot scoring attempts in the box. "We watched film and we knew they played direct right down the middle so I was ready for the balls over the top."

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All heads are up in an attempt to get to the ball during the opening game of the North Dakota state boys soccer tournament on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Jamestown at Rotary Field. John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

It took the Magicians too much time to adjust, especially in the first half, said Minot coach Creighton Bachmeier.

"(The Deacons) were able to throw numbers around and we were too complacent early on and allowed them to dictate where the space was going to be manipulated," Bachmeier said. "In this tournament, it isn't so much about the physical and tactical stuff, it's how mentally ready are you when there's so much stress. You know what the outcome can be and you want it so badly, but can you see through that and still play soccer. We didn't do enough of that early on."

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Shanley, which has played in 14 state tournaments but its first since 2017, was ready for it and Deacons coach Ryan Christianson was not surprised.

"(The plan was) play our game, see where it goes and it was successful," Christianson said. "We knew Minot was going to be a tough team, but we have the players and the talent to go far in the tournament."

Related Topics: SOCCER
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