Fairmont Area girls soccer rallies to tie Waseca
FAIRMONT — Fairmont Area salvaged a tie during the third of a four-game scheduling gauntlet Monday night at Kot Soccer Complex.
Junior midfielder Brooklyn Meyer’s goal — the only one during the entire second 40-minute half — off Sami Lenort’s assist proved the equalizer behind the Cardinals’ cardiac comeback en route to a 3-all deadlock with Big South Conference rival Waseca after a scoreless overtime in Fairmont.
“No doubt it’s a tough stretch,” Fairmont Area head coach Matt Nielsen said in reference to his Cardinals’ 2-1 loss to QRF No. 5-ranked St. Peter last Thursday, a 2-1 win over No. 16 Mankato East on Saturday and Monday night’s tie with No. 41 Waseca. “Now we have to get some rest, regain our focus and be ready to face a tough team in (No. 36) New Ulm (at 7 p.m. tonight).”
Trailing 3-2 at halftime, Nielsen gradually shifted a midfielder into the Cardinals’ attack mode to create a staggering nine corner kicks to help outshoot the defensive-savvy Bluejays by a 7-3 shots-on-goal margin in the second half.
Lenort found a narrow seam through two Waseca defenders along the left wing and lofted a crossing pass to Meyer at the top of the goalie’s box. Meyer kept her line-drive shot low from the point and found the twine for a 3-all score with 35:15 remaining in regulation.
“(Assistant coach) Pete (Nielsen) and I told the girls at halftime that we could come away with a 7-3 win if we finish our shots during the second half,” said Matt Nielsen. “If you count Brooklyn’s goal, the three off the crossbar and the one just wide, our prediction would have come true.”
Senior striker Joni Becker, who delivered three of the Cardinals’ goals — including the overtime winner — during a 4-3 overtime victory over the Bluejays on Sept. 3, drilled one of those ‘paint-scraping’ shots described by Matt Nielsen at the 32:40 juncture of the second half.
Rayah Quiring, who cashed in defender Carissa Saxton’s long-distance assist into Fairmont Area’s initial first-half goal Monday night, outraced the Waseca defensive secondary to a long kick, but launched her running shot less than a foot outside the left pipe at the 31-minute mark.
Joni Becker hammered a left-wing laser off the crossbar on the heels of Ellie Schultze’s steal-turned-crossing pass at the 23:30 juncture before Lexi Kaufman nearly notched another mark in the win column for the Cardinals when her header off a corner kick dinged the pipe with only 5:24 remaining.
Junior striker Gabriela Rodriguez proved the Bluejays’ offensive catalyst, delivering the game’s first goal less than 4 minutes into the contest. Rodriguez weaved along the right endline and lofted a perfect angled kick that hit the underside of the crossbar. Fairmont Area keeper Cadence Becker tipped the spinning orb, but it trickled back across the line for a 1-0 lead at the 36:07 juncture.
Carmen Miller’s right-wing break and crossing pass to Kaitlyn Hyatt doubled the Bluejays’ margin to 2-0 at the 28:52 mark. Hyatt toed a left-point fluttering shot that caught the top right shelf.
Saxton’s perfect lead pass to the fleet-footed Quiring answered the challenge for the Cardinals only 1:20 later before Fairmont Area’s Cayla Phinney-Colby delivered the equalizer.
After Waseca goalie Erika Hertzog collided with a Fairmont Area forward a yard from the doorstep, Phinney-Colby collected Meyer’s rebound and blasted it into the net for a 2-all tie at the 4:58 juncture.
Rodriguez, however, displayed her speed and agility by beating 1-to-3 odds against a stalwart Fairmont Area defensive wall and skidding her shot under a diving Cadence Becker with only 23 seconds left before intermission.
“She (Rodriguez) kept us honest defensively tonight,” said Matt Nielsen. “We couldn’t cheat up and help out on offense more.
“I am proud of the way our girls battled back to tie it after getting down two, then one and then one again. It wasn’t pretty, but we managed to salvage a tie.”
Cadence Becker made six saves for the Cardinals, while Hertzog tallied 10 saves for the Bluejays.
Fairmont Area (8-2-1, 5-2-1 Big South) plays host to New Ulm at 7 p.m. tonight at Kot Soccer Complex, while Waseca (5-3-1, 4-2-1) plays host to Worthington.
WAS–Gabriela Rodriguez (unassisted), 36:07.
WAS–Kaitlyn Hyatt (Carmen Miller), 28:52.
FA–Rayah Quiring (Carissa Saxton), 27:32.
FA–Cayla Phinney-Colby (Brooklyn Meyer), 4:58.
WAS–Gabriela Rodriguez (unassisted), 0:23.
FA–Brooklyn Meyer (Sami Lenort), 35:15.
Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 13; Waseca 9. Corners: Fairmont Area 9; Waseca 3.
Saves: Cadence Becker (FA) 6; Erika Hertzog (WAS) 10.
Waseca edged Fairmont Area in C-squad action, 3-2, Monday in Fairmont.
Elayna Anderson netted the Cardinals’ first goal off a Karissa Newville assist. Anderson added Fairmont Area’s second goal late in the second half.
Cardinals goalie Madi Stromberg made 11 saves on the game.