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Minnesota Aurora kick off season on Wednesday

The team finished runner-up in USL W League Championship in their inaugural season last year.

EAGAN, Minn. — "It set the standard pretty high going into this year," said Aurora defender Makenzie Langdok.

Year Two for the Minnesota Aurora gets underway on Wednesday, and the team hopes to finish one spot better after losing in the USL W League Championship game last summer.

"The level of training and the intensity and focus has replicated that expectation and that desire to repeat, so it's been fun," said Langdok.

The team opens up the season on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at TCO Stadium in Eagan. This year's Aurora roster is heavy on experience, 17 players from last year's squad return this year.

"It's been a huge help to get us to a higher baseline than we were compared to this year and get to a higher level of the Aurora way faster, so it's been essential," said Aurora head coach Nicole Lukic. 

That experience will also be essential in staying atop a USL W League that is growing from 44 to 65 teams this season.

"Anything to increase the competition. If you have better competition, you're forced to play better, you're forced to step it up," said Aurora midfielder Morgan Stone.

"The league has definitely got better. It's going to be a lot harder to be successful in playoffs," said Lukic.

The journey back to what the Aurora hopes are a long playoff run begins Wednesday in Eagan.

"So excited to be in front of the community, especially since it was such an awesome experience last year," said Aurora defender Kelsey Kaufusi. 

"I think everyone is pumped to be back in this stadium filled with people. Obviously, we want to be in the final and repeat last year, and hopefully, we come out on top, but little steps to get there need to be taken care of," said Langdok.

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