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Bluejays blank Cardinals in soccer opener, 2-0

SLIDING DEFENSE — Fairmont Area midfielder Sami Lenort (right) slides horizontally to force Waseca’s Journey Utpadel to kick around her during season-opening Big South Conference soccer action Friday night at Jeffery Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

FAIRMONT — The timing of Thyme Lang’s initial goal of Friday night’s Big South Conference soccer season-opener in Fairmont gave the visiting Waseca Bluejays just enough breathing room on the scoreboard.

Striker Gabriela Rodriguez snapped the scoreless tie 3 minutes into the second half and Lang drilled home an insurance goal nearly 14 minutes later to pace Waseca’s 2-0 triumph over the Fairmont Area Cardinals at Jeffery Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed in the final result, but now we have a better understanding of the value of maintaining your original game plan,” said Fairmont Area head coach Matt Nielsen. “We were sticking to 5- to 10-yard passes and moved the ball well in the first half, but we got away from that strategy in the second half. We couldn’t run our offense effectively with the 10- to 15-yard passes, and resulted in numerous 50-50 situations.”

Fairmont Area goalkeeper Cadence Becker and Waseca netminder Erika Hertzog each generated six saves to produce a first-half scoreless tie before Rodriguez’s speed and footwork proved the decisive factor early in the second half.

Rodriguez, who accounted for five of the Bluejays’ 13 shots on goal during the contest, drilled a right-to-left liner from 12 yards out to beat the sure-handed Becker for a 1-0 lead with 37:00 remaining in regulation. Journey Utpadel threaded the assist to the fleet-footed Rodriguez.

Ironically, Becker stonewalled Lang on a doorstep shot off a corner kick at the 23:44 juncture only to have Lang lace a liner by her just 18 seconds later for a 2-0 lead.

Sami Lenort, who accounted for four of the Cardinals’ 11 shots on goal in the opener, weaved her way through traffic before ripping a left-to-right shot that Hertzog made a diving save on near the post with 15:45 left in regulation.

Lenort lofted a left endline shot to trigger the game’s initial offensive rush during the opening minutes of the first half, but Hertzog proved worthy of the challenge with her catch.

Brooklyn Meyer nearly staked Fairmont Area to a 1-0 lead right before intermission, but Hertzog recorded one of her 11 saves to keep the contest scoreless. Meyer rushed the right wing with time winding down and lofted an 18-yarder that nearly eluded the Waseca netminder with only 3 seconds showing.

Becker recorded 11 saves between the pipes for the Cardinals.

Fairmont Area (0-1) travels to Worthington on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. conference game, while Waseca (1-0) hits the road to Mankato Loyola on Tuesday.

Waseca 0-2–2

Fairmont 0-0–0

Scoring Plays

1st Half

No scoring

2nd Half

WAS–Gabriela Rodriguez (Journey Utpadel), 37:00.

WAS–Thyme Lang (Samantha Azure), 23:26.

Shots on goal: Waseca 6-7–13; Fairmont Area 6-5–11. Corners: Waseca 6; Fairmont Area 6.

Saves: Cadence Becker (FA) 6-5–11; Erika Hertzog (WAS) 6-5–11.

Waseca posted a 5-1 season-opening victory over Fairmont Area during junior varsity action Friday night.

Alexis Rojo netted the Cardinals’ lone goal off an assist from Alex Martin.

Goalkeeper Kalie Hanna made a game-best 24 saves for Fairmont Area (0-1).

Waseca netted a 3-1 win over Fairmont Area during C-squad action Friday night.

Brylee Miller converted Bella Schroeder’s pass into the Cardinals’ only goal of the season-opener.

Netminder Grace Terry recorded nine saves for Fairmont Area (0-1).

Boys Soccer

Waseca 3, Fairmont Area 0 — The Bluejays reached the scoring column once in the first half and kicked home two more in the second 40-minute session to pace a season-opening shutout over the Cardinals on Friday night in Waseca.

Joshua Bergt generated a team-best four shots on goal for Fairmont Area.

Bryant Armitage notched six saves between the pipes for the Cardinals, while teammate Isaiah Lockwood tallied two stops.

Fairmont Area (0-1) plays host to Worthington at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Kot Soccer Complex.

Waseca topped Fairmont Area, 5-1, during junior varsity action Friday night.

Ben Heinze produced the visiting Cardinals’ only goal on the contest, while Isaiah Lockwood handled the netminding duties.

Hadan Toomer and Douglas Garcia produced two goals apiece to power Fairmont Area to a 5-2 season-opening triumph over Waseca during C-squad action Friday night in Waseca.

Nolan Schultze chipped in one goal to the Cardinals’ winning ways, while netminder Ethan Pockrus recorded six saves to pocket the win.

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