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Grand Forks Central Knights off to fast start in soccer

Central midfielder Jackson Macho (center) and Red River's Suraj Magar (left) and Padam Tamang (right), battle for the ball during an intracity game last season. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
William Lawson-Body2 / 2

William Lawson-Body accounted for half of Grand Forks Central's goals last season when he scored 10 times.

Lawson-Body is off to a fast start again this high school boys soccer season, scoring six goals in the Knights' first six games. A big difference from a year ago, however, is in the junior's playmaking—Lawson-Body has three assists after not registering any as a sophomore.

"I think we're all creating more scoring chances,'' Lawson-Body said. "We're getting more movement without the ball. We're all passing better.

"I always want more assists. That means more goals for the team. And I think (scoring) will keep going up.''

The Knights are 4-2, a fast start after finishing last season 5-11-1.

A big reason is the offense. Central totaled 20 goals in 16 games last season. The Knights already have scored 19 goals in their first six games this season. Central coach George DuBois said he isn't surprised by the jump in scoring.

"We didn't lose any starters from our attacking group,'' DuBois said. "The guys played a lot over the summer. They've improved.

"And the best part is that we're getting goals from a lot of people. We've been able to score in different scenarios. We haven't had to rely on one guy. We've been better able to move the ball and get more scoring opportunities.''

Nine players have contributed to the scoring.

Behind Lawson-Body is Jackson Macho, whose four goals is the double the total he finished with last season. Playmaker Sylver Osodo has two goals and six assists—both higher totals than he finished with last season.

Davidson McLean has scored two goals and Mason Smith, Nick Veres, Colton Mitchell, Jace Johnson and Lucas Kanta each have scored once. Those six players combined for three goals all last season.

The surprise for Lawson-Body isn't that the Knights are getting more goals, and from more people. His surprise is that it didn't happen a year ago.

"I was more surprised that we didn't do so well last year,'' the junior said. "It was quite frustrating. It probably pushed us, motivation to not have it happen again.

"It's another year of experience on the team. We were quite young last year. We all worked on our game over the summer. Now it's paying off.''

DuBois said goals could be more difficult to come by as the Knights head into their strong conference schedule, including a 7 p.m. game Thursday against Grand Forks Red River (2-3-2).

But DuBois said Central won't have to rely on its offense. The defensive unit, anchored by Kanta, Mitchell and Kyler Briske, also has been stingy. The Knights have allowed five goals this season, and no more than two in any game.

"I think we can consistently score two or three goals a game,'' DuBois said. "A lot of that depends on the style your opponent plays. But I think we can create 2-3 good scoring opportunities a game and capitalize on most of them.

"And our defense has been markedly better this year. We've done a nice job of limiting opponents' scoring opportunities.''