Grand Forks Red River enters state soccer knowing it can keep pace with the top tier
The Roughriders' record is sub-.500 but Red River has shown to be a challenging foe against some of the state's best squads.
GRAND FORKS — Typically when a coach says a team plays to its level of competition it's a negative aspect of the group.
For Grand Forks Red River, though, it's encouraging.
The East Region No. 4 Roughriders begin the North Dakota Class A boys soccer tournament at 4:30 p.m. Thursday against West Region No. 1 Minot.
"I think we play to the level of our competition really well," Red River coach Luke Glasoe said. "There's been some disappointing losses against some not-top-tier opponents but we've fared well against the top teams. Going into state, that's a good trait if you can play against the best."
The best result for Red River, 6-7-4 overall, came against East Region No. 1 Fargo Davies. Red River and Davies tied 2-2 on Aug. 30.
That result is noteworthy considering Davies is 14-0-1.
Red River started the season 1-5-2.
"We started finding what our identity was and jelling as a team better," Glasoe said. "We figured out what works for us."
Glasoe said Red River's reputation is likely as a unit that's tough to score against.
"We have a lot of seniors and guys who are not only skilled enough but athletic enough to be tough to beat us 1-on-1," Glasoe said. "We're just a pretty solid defensive unit with our goalie and back line."
Red River will be the underdog against the West Region's top team. The two are familiar with each other, with Minot beating Red River 2-1 back on Aug. 13.
"I think we're going to go in not very afraid," Glasoe said. "We've seen what they have to offer and we match up well against them. I think we'll be a little over-looked."
Red River at a glance
Coach: Luke Glasoe.
State opponent: West Region No. 1 Minot at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, at Essentia Field in West Fargo.
State tournament history: The Riders are making their 19th state tournament appearance with state championships in 2002 and 2005. Red River finished fourth last season.
Starting lineup: Sr. G Brady Price; jr. D Juel De La Cruz; jr. D Connor Knutson; sr. D Caleb Severson; sr. D Nate Christianson; sr. MF Grant Lelm; jr. MF Ben Strand; sr. MF Lukas Heydt; sr. F Hunter Robertson; sr. F Jaden Chine; sr. F Wyatt Huus.