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Tiger soccer teams fight their way to section championship games

Junior defender Emily Schaffer pulls a nifty move during the Tigers' match against Eagan to end the regular season. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Junior midfielder Ryley Breczinski dribbles past an Eagan defender near the end of the Tigers' regular season. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Having a sport reach the section championship game is an achievement to be proud of. Having two teams in a season do it is uncommon and something to take note of. Having the boys and girls teams of the same sport both reach the championship game, and play on the same pitch for the championship to support one another, is something for the record books.

The Farmington boys and girls soccer teams both advanced to their section 1AA championship games this past week, and both teams play Lakeville North on Tuesday, Oct. 16, with a chance advance to the state tournament.

Boys pitch a pair of shutouts

The Tiger boys won a pair of 1-0 shutouts against fifth-seed Owatonna and top-seeded Rochester Mayo last Tuesday and Thursday, both of which came after penalty-kick shootouts in overtime to seal the victories. The section championship game is not unfamiliar territory for the boys as they have made it three out of the last five years, but up until now have been unable to advance any further.

The boys play Lakeville North at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. If they win, they play on a date to be determined, the field will be re-seeded and the first round held at the highest seed. The winner of that game would then go on to play at U.S. Bank Stadium on the morning of Monday, Oct. 30, and then either in the afternoon Tuesday, Oct. 31 or Thursday, Nov. 2.

Girls outscore opponents 4-1

The fifth-seeded Farmington girls team beat no. 4-seed Rochester John Marshall 2-0 in Rochester on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and then followed that victory up with another at top-seeded Owatonna 2-1 on Thursday, Oct. 12.

Head coach Aaron Johnson said that his team has really cleaned up their play so far in sections as opposed to how they played at times during the regular season.

"We limited our mistakes," he said. "We really haven't made many mistakes the last two games, the girls have played really well and the chances we did get we put them away (and scored). We're finishing better."

Against John Marshall, Johnson said that his team was more confident playing them for the second time as the Tigers had faced some of the best teams the state has to offer since their first meeting.

Their second section match against Owatonna was another rematch from earlier in the season and Johnson explained that it was a night-and-day difference between the two.

"We played them the first match of the year and they beat us 2-0," he explained. "I don't even think we registered a shot or a dangerous shot that game and last night, obviously, we had quite a few dangerous opportunities."

Johnson also said that his team is starting to get healthy and they had several players really play well in their two section matches.

"Defensively, Emma Johnson (junior) and Belle Schaffer (senior) have been really good," he said. "Sarah Hannon (junior) missed a couple games last week with an injury, but they've been pretty solid for us the last couple weeks. But Emily Barthel (senior), who's been on varsity ever since she was a sophomore, she's been sick or injured this year but this last week she was probably our best player both games, and when she's on we're definitely a very good defensive team when you put her with the other defenders we have. Callie Beck, a sophomore, she was tremendous in the center midfield last night and Tessa Erickson , a junior, was very good and those two kind of dominated the midfield."

The Lady Tigers play right before the boys team at 5 p.m. Like the boys, if the girls win, they play on a date to be determined and the location would be held at the highest seed after the teams were re-seeded. They next would play Tuesday, Oct. 31, in the early afternoon and then Thursday, Nov. 2.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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