Quiring powers Fairmont Area soccer to 2A semifinals
FAIRMONT — Fairmont Area head girls soccer coach Matt Nielsen knows for every rule, there always seems to be an exception.
Cardinals’ sophomore forward Rayah Quiring proved to be the perfect exception during Saturday’s Section 2A quarterfinal clash with Holy Family Catholic in Fairmont.
Quiring buried her penalty kick into the twine with 6:27 remaining in the first 10-minute overtime to help the No. 3-seeded Cardinals douse the No. 6-seeded Fire, 2-1, at Kot Soccer Complex.
Fairmont Area (13-2-1) advances to face No. 2-seeded St. Peter (12-3-2) in a 7 p.m. sectional semifinal Tuesday night at Floyd B. Johnson Field in St. Peter. The Saints gained the next round by fending off No. 7-seeded Mankato East, 1-0, during quarterfinal action Saturday.
“I made the decision that if you’re the player that gets fouled, you don’t take the PK (penalty kick) because sometimes you’re still feeling the effects from the hit you took,” said Nielsen.
Ironically, Quiring, who staked the Cardinals to a 1-0 lead by converting Carissa Saxton’s threaded pass through traffic into a goal with 18 seconds remaining before halftime, was fouled by the Fire with 15:06 remaining in the second half.
Nielsen opted to have the strong-legged Brooklyn Meyer take the penalty kick and the Fairmont Area junior midfielder was denied via HFC netkeeper Sydney Paulsen’s baseballesque ground-ball save to keep the game tied at 1-all.
Fire forward Mary Furlong drilled a blast past Cardinal goalkeeper Cadence Becker from the point for the equalizer off a filtered assist from Maeve Kelly with 33:32 left in the second half.
Knotted at 1-all, Quiring drove into the box during the early stages of overtime and was fouled, leaving Nielsen with a difficult decision.
“I told Rayah to take the PK, and she said, ‘But I thought you said if I was the one who got fouled, I couldn’t take it (penalty kick),'” said a grinning Nielsen. “Sometimes you have to make an exception to the rule, and I’m glad I did.”
“I just did what I always do on PKs — focus on the ball and kick it hard to the same spot every time,” said Quiring.
While Quiring supplied the late offensive heroics, Fairmont Area keeper Cadence Becker — along with defenders McKayla Chambers and Lily Hohensee — combined to stonewall HFC’s Kelly, Maggie Rothstein and Ella Haley during the final 13 minutes of regulation to force the extra session.
The hard-working Kelly maneuvered through traffic along the left doorstep before hammering a rising liner that Becker extended to bat out of harm’s way at the 12:55 juncture.
Only 25 seconds later, Kelly’s rising liner from the right wing sailed just wide before Becker gloved Rothstein’s hard-kicked shot from the point with 9:40 remaining in regulation.
Becker displayed her vertical jump by leaping to snag Haley’s chip shot from the right end line at the 6:26 mark before Chambers and Hohensee managed to sweep away entry passes into the box to prevent any unchallenged looks on goal during the final five minutes.
Senior striker Joni Becker produced five of Fairmont Area’s dozen shots on goal, including two narrow misses to open the second half.
Cadence Becker finished with a game-best 15 saves for Fairmont Area.
Paulsen turned away 10 shots on net for Holy Family Catholic, which ended its season with a 10-8 record.
FMT–Rayah Quiring (Carissa Saxton), 0:18.
HFC–Mary Furlong (Maeve Kelly), 33:32.
FMT–Rayah Quiring penalty kick, 6:27.
Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 3-8-1–12; Holy Family Catholic 5-11-0–16. Corners: Fairmont Area 5; Holy Family Catholic 2.
Saves: Cadence Becker (FMT) 15; Sydney Paulsen (HFC) 10.