FARGO—The Fargo North girls soccer team is picking up right where it left off last season after winning a North Dakota state championship.
This spring, the Spartans' title defense has started with favorable results by winning their first two matches, including a 3-1 Eastern Dakota Conference decision against Fargo Shanley-Oak Grove-Park Christian on Thursday, April 14 at Sid Cichy Stadium.
"It is still really early," North head coach Michelle Crary said. "What I do like is we are improving each half that we have played. The girls are eager to learn more, and they are asking questions, which are good signs for a young team,"
The Spartans got on the scoreboard 29 minutes, 7 seconds into the match. Sophomore forward Abby Naseth scored an unassisted goal to get things started for the Spartans (2-0-0, 2-0-0 EDC).
Less than three minutes later, Naseth found junior Molly Sarafolean in the box for a quality scoring chance that the all-state forward buried to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.
"Keeping possession is key for us," Sarafolean said. "We try to use the whole width of the field with our crosses, and we have been finding feet. When we have been getting scoring chances, we have been finishing them."
Shanley-OG-PC (1-1-0, 1-1-0) cut North's lead in half with 13:27 left when junior forward Brookelyn Dew scored.
"I was very pleased with our effort," Deacons head coach Lance Hansen said. "We are learning a new system right now, and we had a couple breakdowns, which North was able to get some shots off of, and they buried a couple goals early."
Naseth answered scoring off a corner kick by North senior defender Kalli Baarstad.
"My teammates set me up with good passes and put me in good positions to score my goals," Naseth said.
As the defending champion who return most of its roster from the title run a year ago, North has high expectations.
"We have our core group back and the team chemistry shows," Sarafolean said. "We are taking it one match at a time and we weren't looking ahead to this match until after the one we played with South."
North hosts West Fargo Sheyenne on Tuesday, April 19 and travels to Fargo Davies on Thursday, April 21.
"We know nothing is owed to us," Naseth said. "We will have to fight every game until we get back."