Cardinals slam brakes on boys soccer skid

SCOOOOORE! — Fairmont Area’s Kaleb Hoye (left) celebrates after scoring the eventual game-winning goal during Big South Conference soccer action Tuesday night at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont. Loyola’s Armando Zamora (22) demonstrates his disappointment on the play. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — The streak is over.

Fairmont Area beat the Mankato Loyola Crusaders, 5-4, Tuesday night for the Cardinals’ first boys soccer victory since Sept. 17, 2016.

Fairmont Area had played 30 straight games without a win before their victory at Kot Soccer Complex.

Cardinals head coach Brady Meyer said breaking the streak felt great.

“It’s been a long time, unfortunately,” Meyer said. “It feels really good right now. Really good.”

The Cardinals controlled the game early, with the help of the wind blowing toward the goal on the north end of the field, getting four shots on goal in the first 5 minutes, one each from Joshua Bergt, Calvin Guritz, Matthew Anderson and Campbell Krusemark. With 27:24 remaining in the first half, Krusemark reached the back of the net.

Krusemark got the ball 45 yards out from the goal on a pass from Kaleb Hoye and launched a shot that hit off the right post and went in. Krusemark’s goal went past the Crusaders’ diving keeper to put Fairmont Area up 1-0 in front of the packed bleachers of energetic fans.

Six minutes later, Hoye was taken down on an attack in the box and was awarded a penalty kick. Hoye took advantage, putting the ball in the bottom left corner of the net, just past the diving keeper, to put Fairmont Area up 2-0.

Fairmont Area continued to control the first half, getting five more shots off before Bergt was awarded a penalty kick with 3:28 left before halftime.

Bergt went bottom right on the attempt and pushed it past the keeper, who got a hand on the ball before it travelled into the net to put the Cardinals ahead 3-0.

Meyer said he was happy with his team’s performance and thought they executed everything in their game plan.

“We came in doing everything we wanted to do,” Meyer said. “We came in focused, prepared and coming off the game we played (Monday), where we thought we played pretty good. We talked about some of the things we needed to change and the guys definitely did that and it led to a victory.”

The Crusaders got off the first three shots of the second half, all coming in the first 4 minutes, but Fairmont Area capitalized when it was awarded a free kick just outside the goalie box.

Daniel Brummond took the free kick and put it over the wall of defenders and inside the left corner of the net to extend the Cardinals’ lead at the 35:01 mark.

The Crusaders began to fight back.

Johnny Godoy-Ramos was the first Crusader to reach the back of the net when he scored off an assist from Ramiro Zamora with 31:54 remaining. Marlon Henriquez then scored off a free kick that looked similar to Brummond’s with 27:14 remaining to halve the lead to 4-2.

Shots went back-and-forth until Zamora launched the ball from 35 yards out and into the right side of the net past Fairmont Area keeper Tyson Geerdes to bring the Crusaders within one with 15:44 remaining.

The Cardinals scored an insurance goal with 6:06 remaining when Hoye took over the offense.

Hoye received a pass from Brummond and juked past four defenders, moving from the middle of the field to the right side of the goalie box, and took a shot toward the left side of the net. His shot got past the Crusaders’ keeper to bring Fairmont Area’s lead to 5-3.

Meyer said Hoye was the player of the game because of his effort powering the offense.

“He got two goals plus he worked his butt off to get through the defense on his last one,” Meyer said. “He was absolutely working hard and he had the mentality today that he wasn’t gonna lose.”

The Crusaders weren’t done fighting. Henriquez took a free kick from 45 yards out and hit the inside of the net to bring the Crusaders within one with 4:29 remaining, but that was all they could muster as the Cardinals clinched their win.

Geerdes made nine saves between the pipes for Fairmont Area.

Fairmont Area (1-5, 1-3 Big South) travels to Waseca for a 5 p.m. game Thursday.

Loyola 0-4–4

Fairmont 3-2–5

Scoring Plays

1st Half

F — Campbell Krusemark (Kaleb Hoye)

F — Kaleb Hoye (Penalty Kick)

F — Joshua Bergt (Penalty Kick)

2nd Half

F — Daniel Brummond (Free Kick)

LOY — Johnny Godoy-Ramos (Ramiro Zamora)

LOY — Marlon Henriquez (Free Kick)

LOY — Ramiro Zamora (Unassisted)

F — Kaleb Hoye (Dan Brummond)

LOY — Marlon Henriquez (Free Kick)

Cole Christopher led the Fairmont Area junior varsity with a hat trick to power a 3-0 win over Mankato Loyola at Kot Soccer Complex on Tuesday night.

Christopher scored one unassisted goal and received two assists from Osvaldo Morales.

Bryant Armitage saved 10 shots to keep the shutout for the Cardinals.