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Girls soccer: Panthers set the bar in Section 1AA

Farmington's Izzie Ferm defends the ball during Saturday's 3-0 loss at No. 1-ranked Lakeville North. The Tigers fell to 5-2-1, while the Panthers improved to 7-0 with their sixth straight shutout victory.

Last week served as a measuring stick for the Farmington girls soccer team -- an opportunity to see how they stacked up against the best of the rest in the Missota Conference and Section 1AA.

The Tigers passed the first test with flying colors Thursday as they rolled to their third shutout in a row in a 1-0 victory on the road over fellow league favorite Chanhassen. Saturday's challenge proved more difficult, as No. 1-ranked (Class 2A) Lakeville North scored three unanswered goals in the second half to secure a 3-0 win on its home turf.

Lakeville North, now 7-0, hasn't allowed a goal in six straight games. The Panthers were 18-0-2 last year in the regular season before losing two one-goal games at the Metrodome and are looking for a return trip to state out of Section 1AA this year.

"I told the girls before the game that in order for us to make it to state we will have to play them again, so the outcome of this game meant little either way," Farmington coach Rob Carpentier said. "Now we know we can play with them and that we have to be mentally with it for the full 80 minutes."

Some momentary lapses in focus accounted for Lakeville North's first two goals, according to Carpentier. After a scoreless first half, the Panthers snuck a goal through the defense and past goalkeeper Ashley Becker 12 seconds into the second.

"The defense fell asleep. That changed the game," Carpentier said. "We were mentally down for the next 15 minutes. To our credit we got back in the game, but they scored again with about 18 minutes to go when we fell asleep again in our defensive third off a throw-in."

Outside of those two mistakes, Carpentier credited his defense with solid play throughout the rest of the game. He specifically noted the play of Izzie Ferm, who kept North standout Simone Kolander out of the scoring column.

"Izzie actually forced their coach to move her around trying to free her. It never worked. Izzie may be the best defender in the metro area," Carpentier said.

The Tigers outshot Chanhassen 17-6 in last Thursday's Missota Conference opener and settled for a 1-0 victory.

"It should have been much more," Carpentier said. "We hit the post, their keeper made two great saves and we missed a penalty kick."

Kelli Elmer scored the game's lone goal on a pass from Kali Allard. Becker preserved the win with one big save in the second half.

Elmer also scored the team's only goal in a 1-0 win over Rochester Century at Tiger Stadium. She headed in a long cross from Naomi Wood and the Panthers never seriously challenged.

"We dominated the game, but we were wasteful with our shots,"?Carpentier said.

The Tigers (5-2-1) are back on the road tonight at Northfield. Saturday morning the team is back at home against Rochester Mayo.