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Boys soccer: Farmington's record-setting season ends one game shy of state

Farmington’s record-setting boys soccer season came to an end one game shy of the state tournament last Tuesday night in Owatonna.

The top-seeded Huskies took the lead just before halftime in the Section 1AA finals at the Lincoln Elementary fields and went on to qualify for state with a 2-0 shutout of the Tigers.

It was Owatonna’s ninth straight victory and 10th shutout of the season. The Big Nine Conference champions take an overall mark of 15-1-2 into tonight’s state tournament opener against Eastview, while the Tigers finished with a record of 8-5-5.

“We played some of the best soccer I have ever seen from Farmington. We looked and played like a section finalist team. It was fun knowing that of each and every one of the 15 teams we faced this year, Farmington and Owatonna were the last two standing,” Farmington coach Julian Buss said. “Every other team had been eliminated already in their post-season play. What a fun and exciting place to be! I know that the boys will hold onto this feeling of accomplishment for a long time.”

Farmington got 21 shots off, 12 of which were on goal, but ended up getting blanked for the eighth time this season. Owatonna put 14 shots on goal and 12 were stopped by keeper Jake Agnew.

“He was ready for Owatonna. The two goals that got in were attributed to the ability of Owatonna’s forwards to get open looks and finish in loose ball situations,” Buss said. “Owatonna played well and earned the win.”

The loss ended the careers of nine varsity seniors: Caleb Gochenour, Jeff Gutierrez, Hunter Meyers, Rafael Romero, Blake Smith, Jake Spindler, Eric Stoeckmann, Jared Wolt and Jon Zakoski. The group helped the program to its best single-season record ever and its first-ever trip to the section finals.

Next year, the Tigers will make their debut in the South Suburban Conference. Buss said the program is ready to make the switch.

“I think the transition to the South Suburban Conference will be a challenge, but from what I have seen from the boys lately in terms of energy, commitment, passion and ability, I know we will be ready to make the most of this new conference change and rose to new levels of play and accomplishment.”