FAIRMONT - Fairmont Area senior co-captains Katie Nicoson and Rachael Sauck thrived in Cardinal girls soccer mentor Matt Nielsen's newly-modified lineup.
Nicoson lended her legs to all three of the Cardinals' second-half goals, including her first netfinder of the season, while Sauck also tallied her first goal of the campaign to engineer a 3-2 comeback victory over the Waseca Bluejays on Thursday at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont.
"I decided to shift to a 3-4-3 attack, moving Katie (Nicoson) to one of the three forward spots and Rachael (Sauck) to the midfield," said Nielsen. "The girls believed in the change and made it work tonight, and I thank them for that."
KICKIN’ UP?THEIR HEELS — Fairmont Area forward Katie Nicoson (17) kicks a shot off of Waseca defender Madison Priebe (11) as Bluejay teammate Linsey Johnson helps out on the play during South Central Conference soccer action Thursday night in Fairmont. Photo by Leanna Becker
Trailing 1-0 after Waseca striker Brittany Miller chipped in the South Central Conference clash's initial goal at the doorstep off of Samantha Hiller's right-wing drive and dish in the first half, Nicoson and Rachael Sauck ignited Fairmont Area's high-octane comeback during the final 40 minutes of regulation.
Nicoson, who had distributed four assists without netting a goal in 10 previous games this fall, drove the left end line before spotting striker Sierra Schultz near the point. Schultz's pass snuck through a seam in the Bluejay defense and Sauck knocked home the netfinder from the right side to even the score at 1-all only 2 minutes into the second half.
Brittany Miller then utilized her vapor-trail speed to register her team-leading seventh goal of the season to stake the Bluejays to a 2-1 edge. Miller chased down a free ball along the left wing, shifted into third gear and drilled a crossing shot into the right corner at the 25:06 juncture.
Nicoson, however, played an integral role in the Cardinals producing the equalizer less than 10 minutes later. Natalie Shimon worked the ball into the offensive zone before finding the cutting Nicoson.
Nicoson alertly fired a pass to forward Lexi Johnson, who unleashed a ricocheting blast that seemed to hit every metal part of the goal. Johnson's laser hit the under side of the crossbar, caromed off the ground and into the right upper shelf of the net for a 2-2 tie with 16:37 left in the game.
Nicoson & Co., which produced a 12-5 shots-on-goal edge during the second half, kept the pressure on Waseca goalkeeper Bailey Wolff before Nicoson netted her first goal of the fall.
Kayley Shoen drove the right wing before delivering a perfect lead pass to Nicoson, who unleashed a sizzler past Wolff and into the left corner of the net for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal at the 13:09 mark.
Fairmont Area goalkeeper Alexis Christianson pocketed the victory by making 15 saves, including 11 during the first half.
Wolff turned away 17 of the Cardinals' 20 shots on goal for the game.
Fairmont Area (4-6-2, 1-3 SCC) plays host to New Prague at 5 p.m. Monday in the first game of a varsity doubleheader at Mahoney Field in Fairmont.
Waseca (6-5-1, 2-2-1) plays host to Mankato Loyola next Thursday.
W - Brittany Miller (Samantha Hiller), 3:55.
FA - Rachael Sauck (Sierra Schultz, Katie Nicoson), 38:00.
W - Brittany Miller (unassisted), 25:06.
FA - Lexi Johnson (Katie Nicoson, Natalie Shimon), 16:37.
FA - Katie Nicoson (Kayley Shoen), 13:09.
Saves: Alexis Christianson (FA) 11-4-15; Bailey Wolff (W) 8-9-17.
Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 8-12-20; Waseca 12-5-17.
Fairmont Area 1, Waseca 0 - Lucas Miles scored the lone goal in a 1-0 South Central Conference soccer victory over Waseca on Thursday in Waseca.
Carter Welchlin worked the ball on the left side before dropping a centering pass back to Brandon Jensen.
Jensen pushed it past the Bluejays defenders to Miles, who beat the advancing goaltender to the ball to score for the Cardinals.
Matt Tennyson recorded the shutout with 10 saves, while the red-and-white offense fired 16 shots on goal.
Fairmont Area (10-1) travels on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game against Southwest Christian in Edgerton.
The Waseca Bluejays pounded the Cardinals 7-2 in junior varsity soccer action on Thursday in Waseca.
Joe Nordquist scored for the Cardinals in the first half on an assist from Austin Becker and Trason Arens.
The Bluejays tallied three goals in the first half to take a 3-1 lead into halftime.
Arens scored Fairmont Area's second goal in the second half on a penalty kick.
Waseca tallied four more goals in the second half to make it 7-2.
Cardinal goalkeeper Kyle Tromanhauser stopped nine of Waseca's 20 shots on net.
Fairmont Area (4-5-1) travels to Edgerton for an 11 a.m. game against Southwest Christian.