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Boys soccer: Rockets advance with first victory of '09

Farmington head coach Julian Buss figured his team would be in for a battle against a Rochester John Marshall team that entered the Section 1AA soccer tournament with a record of 0-14-1.

He was right.

The ninth-seeded Rockets came out hungry for their first win of the season and took advantage of a couple of defensive breakdowns in the first half by the eighth-seeded Tigers and built a 2-0 advantage en route to an eventual 2-1 win at Tiger Stadium. The win bought just one more day for the Rockets, who bowed out to Lakeville South 3-0 on Wednesday night in Lakeville.

"The boys seemed excited to be playing. They were loose in warm-ups and focused by the start of the game. Unfortunately, I don't think we played our best soccer during the first half. We seemed flat, nervous rushed," Buss said. "Their first (goal) was our inability to cover a throw-in, which resulted in a pass and shot. Their second was similar. Not enough pressure in front of our net."

Also slowing down the Tigers was the play of John Marshall senior goalkeeper Nathan Bartz. Buss said he stopped several close-range shots in the first half to keep the Tigers off the board.

"I credit their goalkeeper. He had some very sticky hands," he said. "Every time we got a good shot off he was there to snag it out of the air. Rochester Century has lost some close games this year against some very tough opponents and I think that their goalkeeper may have been a big factor for them in keeping games close."

The Tigers finally got a ball past Bartz with 3 1/2 minutes remaining when Sam Leske kicked the ball to the far post and Justin Thelen knocked it through. However, John Marshall managed to slow the game down after that and run out the clock.

The Tigers finished 4-11 overall in Buss' first year as head coach. The team will have to replace eight seniors from this year's team: Taylor Wood, Matthew Grieser, Wade Adams, Nick Midboe, Matt Rudorfer, Derek Kuehn, Derian Vietti and Tony Ferrozzo.

"We will miss some very talented and devoted seniors. Two captains (Vietti and Kuehn), two other veterans (Adams and Grieser) and four new to the program (Wood, Rudorfer, Ferrozzo and Midboe)," he said. "I look forward to the return of some very strong players next year and the addition of some new fresh faces."