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Boys soccer: Program takes big step

The Farmington boys soccer team started the season with a 4-0 win at Faribault and a 0-0 tie at Lakeville North. The Tigers host Rosemount tonight at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.

A scoreless tie Saturday night signaled a big step forward for the Farmington boys soccer program.

The Tigers ran stride-for-stride on the road with a Lakeville North team that knocked them out of last year's Section 1AA tournament and went on to qualify for the Class 2A State Tournament.

"We passed another test," coach Julian Buss said. "Can we play tough on the road, under the lights, against last year's Section 1AA champs? The answer is yes. The boys proved (Saturday) that we have elevated the level of play that can be expected to come from the Farmington boys varsity soccer program.... We walk away from this one with our chins up."

Both teams had several chances to score. FHS forwards Brandon Scott and Cole Landwehr had scoring opportunities, and Tiger goalkeeper Chad Stivers stopped nine North shots, including one on a direct kick with a minute left in the final overtime.

"Our midfield played tough against a very strong Lakeville team and our defenders also deserve credit for helping Chad to his second shutout of the season," Buss said.

Stivers has yet to allow any of the 18 shots that have come his way to reach the net this season. He denied all nine of Faribault's opportunities in a season-opening 4-0 shutout last Thursday in Faribault.

The Tigers gave Stivers a comfortable lead to work with by scoring three times in the first six minutes. Landwehr used his left foot to direct the ball into the net on a pass from Urive Omana 3:04 into the game and give the visitors a 1-0 advantage.

Just over three minutes later, Blake Smith's corner kick was headed in by Tyler Petter McCauley to make it 2-0.

"After our scrimmage on Tuesday with Eagan we realized that we needed to spend time working on making our corner kicks more effective. It was great seeing our first corner kick converted into a goal," Buss said. "It was one of those moments where you go 'Yes! That's why we practiced corner kicks for an hour yesterday!'"

Kaid Nokes added a goal on another assist from Omana just over a minute later to give the Tigers a 3-0 halftime lead, and Landwehr's penalty kick six minutes into the second half netted the fourth goal.

The Tigers (1-0-1) make their home debut this week as they hosted Rochester John Marshall on Tuesday night. The team is back home at 7 p.m. tonight against Rosemount.