FAIRMONT - St. Peter midfielder Marta Springer's tiebreaking goal and ensuing assist on an insurance goal literally left Fairmont Area girls soccer mentor Matt Nielsen singing the blues - the Saints' fight song, that is.
Midfielder Tori Wilking's back-to-back first-half goals, combined with Springer's point production, helped visiting blue-and-white clad Saints double up the Cardinals, 4-2, during both teams' regular-season finale at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont.
"I worked on memorizing the words to Fairmont's school fight song and was worried that I'd have to sing after the game," a grinning St. Peter head coach Karl Larson said in reference to his friendly pre-game bet with long-time coaching counterpart Matt Nielsen.
CLEAT CONTROL — St. Peter midfielder Marta Springer (12) controls the soccer ball as Fairmont Area midfielder Brooklyn Leichtnam challenges during conference action Thursday at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont. Photo by Leanna Becker
Nielsen fulfilled his part of the wager by joining the Saints' players in good-natured harmony during the post-game, but it was Wilking and Springer who hit the high notes during the South Central Conference clash on the field.
Wilking earned a free kick via a Fairmont Area handball from just behind the 13-yard box with less than four minutes elapsed in the opening half. The St. Peter senior midfielder started at the right-side elbow and drilled a 15-yard missile over Fairmont Area's defensive wall and just inside the right post for a quick 1-0 lead.
Wilking, however, was just warming up as she unleashed a right-to-left hooking sizzler from the right wing into the left top shelf to double the Saints' lead to 2-0. Haley Jaeger delivered the upfield pass to Wilking to earn the assist at the 34:58 juncture.
The Cardinals, however, left the Saints singing the blues temporarily as senior midfielder Katie Nicoson and sophomore forward Sierra Schultz countered with back-to-back goals.
Nicoson cranked home a penalty kick - via a St. Peter handball inside the box - from the left-hand elbow to beat St. Peter goalkeeper Maria Siebels to the right corner. Nicoson's solo goals sliced the Cardinals' deficit in half at 2-1 with 33:24 left before intermission.
Nicoson then delivered the perfect textbook lead pass to the fleet-footed Schultz on a sprint down the left sideline. Nicoson's seam-finding assist hit Schultz on the foot at full tilt and Fairmont Area's leading goal scorer hammered her breakaway goal into the right side of the net to knot the game with the 18:45 mark.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the lead proved short-lived as Springer needed just 41 seconds to swing the momentum back to the Saints. Springer worked the point before Maggie Anderson spotted her cutting to her right. Springer spun and drilled the ball past Fairmont Area netminder Jess Koskovich for a 3-2 lead.
Springer then loaned her talented toes to Emily Lind's insurance goal at the 12:54 juncture of the first half. Springer threaded the ball to Lind, who nailed the ball into the corner for a 4-2 lead.
Quincy Quiring's right-wing blast that Siebels corraled at the 26:18 mark proved the hardest shot-on-goal of the second half as both the Saints and Cardinals went scoreless.
Siebels tallied four saves to net the win for the Saints, while Koskovich made one stop for the Cardinals.
Fairmont Area (5-9-2, 2-6 SCC) and St. Peter (10-6, 6-2) await today's final seeding that determine their opponents for the Section 2A playoffs on Monday.
St. Peter 4-0-4
SP - Tori Wilking (free kick), 36:17.
SP - Tori Wilking (Haley Jaeger), 34:58.
FA - Katie Nicoson (penalty kick), 33:24.
FA - Sierra Schultz (Katie Nicoson), 18:45.
SP - Marta Springer (Maggie Anderson), 18:04.
SP - Emily Lind (Marta Springer), 12:54.
Saves: Jess Koskovich (FA) 0-1-1; Maria Siebels (SP) 1-3-4.
Shots on goal: St. Peter 4-1-5; Fairmont Area 3-3-6.
Fairmont Area netted a 1-all tie with St. Peter during junior varsity action Thursday in Fairmont.
Sydney Leichtnam continued her torrid scoring pace by notching the Cardinals' only goal.
St. Peter 1, Fairmont Area 0 - Stephen Friend scored the South Central Conference finale's only goal to propel the Saints to a 1-0 win over the Cardinals on Thursday in St. Peter.
Friend found the net on a 30-yard direct kick with 15:51 left in the second half.
Goalkeeper Matt Tennyson made 11 saves for the Cardinals, who generated nine shots on goal.
Fairmont Area (13-3), which shared the SCC crown with Waseca with 4-2 league records, awaits today's seeding results to determine its opponent during the upcoming Section 2A playoffs.
Trason Arens tallied a second-half goal to help Fairmont Area net a 1-1 tie with St. Peter during junior varsity action on Thursday.
Netminder Kyle Tromanhauser made eight saves for the Cardinals (5-7-2), who close out the season by hosting Tracy at 1 p.m. Saturday in Fairmont.