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Girls soccer: Tigers earn rematch with No. 9 North

Few soccer teams around the state are better equipped to sit on a 1-0 lead than the Farmington girls.

In 18 games this season, the Tigers haven’t lost when they’ve scored a goal. And the defensive-minded squad has allowed just 14 goals while posting 10 shutouts.Farmington’s Racheal Welzin dribbles away from a Century defender during last Thursday’s game.

Shutout No. 10 was the biggest one so far. Izzie Ferm cleared the ball to Kelly Kornmann early on in Saturday’s Section 1AA tournament game at Lakeville South and Kornmann booted it past the Cougar keeper for the lone goal in a 1-0 Tiger victory.

Goalkeeper Ashley Becker recorded five saves and, with the help of her defense, survived a few close calls on corner kicks to preserve the lead.

“South got a little rough with us, but we held our composure and fought back with our consistent play. We want the section championship and we definitely want to get to state,” coach Tracie Randall said. “This has been our goal since (losing to) Holy Angels and we are working each day to get the girls ready mentally and physically.”

The Tigers (10-4-4) advanced to face ninth-ranked Lakeville North with a state tournament berth on the line in Tuesday night’s Section 1AA championship game. The Panthers (12-2-3) won 2-0 when the two teams met in last year’s section finals.

“We’re tougher now, more so than we’ve been the whole season,” Randall said. “The girls are finally playing the way I want them to and their progress is remarkable. We’re winning games and our confidence is up.”

The third-seeded Tigers opened Section 1AA tournament play by disposing of Rochester Century 4-1 last Thursday at Tiger Stadium.

The Panthers turned some heads with an early goal on a long free kick, but the Tigers answered with a pair of goals in a five-minute span to take the lead for good. Shannon McKnight found Nicole Doran for a goal 11 minutes in and soon after Kelli Elmer rebounded a Sarah Zak shot and put it in the net for a 2-1 lead.

Kali Allard’s goal on an assist from Hannah Miller made it 3-1 going into the break.

Megan Graham wrapped up the scoring with a goal late in the second half.