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Tigers' soccer teams go 3-3-1 in busy week

Senior midfielder Cristian Collazo handles the ball during a win over Apple Valley. The Tigers went 2-1 this past week. Photo courtesy of Lynne Halterman Images1 / 4
Senior forward Marissa Steele handles the ball during the Farmington girls' win over Apple Valley. Photo courtesy of Lynne Halterman Images2 / 4
The Farmington girls' soccer team won, lost and tied during a busy week. Photo courtesy of Lynne Halterman Images3 / 4
Senior goalkeeper Zachary Berg makes a save against Apple Valley. Berg also came up with several crucial saves during the loss to Rochester Mayo. Photo courtesy of Lynne Halterman Images4 / 4

The Farmington boys' and girls' soccer teams both were tired by the end of last week as they played a combined seven matches in five days. The boys' team continued their fantastic start and went 2-1 with victories over Apple Valley (2-0) and Burnsville (4-2) before they were blanked by Rochester Mayo 3-0. The team is tied for fourth in the Suburban South Conference but boast the conference's second-best overall record at 7-1-2.

Meanwhile the girls' team broke a three-match losing streak with a victory at home over Apple Valley (1-0) on Sept. 12, after falling to Northfield 1-0 on Sept. 11. They traveled to Burnsville on Sept. 14, where they lost 5-0, and then tied Rochester John Marshall 0-0 on Saturday, Sept. 16, in a game where they put as much pressure as possible on their opponents without scoring a goal. The Lady Tigers are now 2-6-1 overall and 1-2 in conference play.

Boys hope to learn from Mayo loss

Head coach Mike Wagner said he anticipates getting another chance at Rochester Mayo in the future.

"Mayo is probably one of the top two or three teams in the section with us and Lakeville North, so we'll get another chance at them later in the season, probably in the playoffs at some point," he said. "The players just have to move on, put it behind them and focus on what's ahead in the next six games and then the playoffs."

Wagner said one bright spot in the loss was the play of senior goalkeeper Zachary Berg and sophomore defender Alex Kiage.

"Zach Berg is one of the best keepers in the state and kept us in the first half with some unbelievable saves," he explained. "Alex Kiage playing in the center-back is leading our team in minutes and is one of the most talented sophomores in the state. But there are a lot of tired legs, little nicks and bruises, and injuries that we're trying to work through. It's that point in the season, the competition is getting tougher, there's a lot more banging, guys are tired from the first couple weeks of school. It's not a bad spot to take a loss, because you don't want to get to the playoffs without a loss and then have a game like this."

Against Apple Valley, senior midfielder Cristian Collazo and sophomore forward Johnathan Gideon scored for the Tigers in the 2-0 victory, while Berg had nine saves and one penalty-kick save. In the win over Burnsville, junior midfielder Cole Eckert had a hat-trick plus one with all four of Farmington's goals in the 4-2 win.

The Tigers hosted Prior Lake on Tuesday, Sept. 19, and then travel to Lakeville North on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Girls' need to learn to finish chances

Every single game the Farmington girls' team has played has been a shutout one way or another. The Lady Tigers have scored five goals in nine matches and tied 0-0 on Saturday, Sept. 16, after two five-minute overtimes against Rochester John Marshall. Head coach Aaron Johnson said that his team needs to capitalize on the chances they create.

"I think that's been our problem, doesn't matter if we played a state-ranked team like we've played most of the year or some of the other tough teams on our schedule, we just haven't been able to finish and there's been some games where we've had quite a few opportunities," he said. "Monday against Northfield we lost 1-0 and had quite a few opportunities to score, against Apple Valley we won 1-0, didn't get a lot of goals but still had a lot of scoring opportunities. Then tonight, I thought we had a couple good looks at the goal but we didn't finish.

"I know we've got some goal scorers, just right now we're not finding the net," Johnson continued. "I never like to make excuses, but this is our fourth game in six days and I think not having our legs was part of the problem. But we don't want to make any excuses, I thought we had enough chances where we could at least have got one or two (goals) to win today, but I know being fatigued was part of the problem."

Despite their offensive struggles, Johnson did praise his defense's effort.

"Obviously we've had some games where we've given up quite a few goals, getting a shutout today and limiting them (was a positive)," he said. "They've scored quite a few goals, so to shut them out was good and I don't think we gave them too many dangerous looks. They had a couple opportunities but for the most part we held them. (Junior midfielder) Emma Johnson, (senior defender) Belle Schaffer, (junior midfielder) Sarah Hannon, our two sweepers and our right-back, were really solid and their communication was great. Belle and Emma played up the whole game, Sarah Hannon played almost the whole game, I thought those three were key keeping us steady back there today."

The Tigers hosted Prior Lake on Tuesday, Sept. 19, and then travel to Lakeville North on Thursday, Sept. 21.

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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