Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
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The Farmington boys soccer team looked vastly improved from a season ago when it scored a combined 10 goals in opening the 2010 season with back-to-back victories. Even stronger evidence for the Tigers' improvement may have come in its first loss of the season Thursday night when it fell 2-1 in overtime to a Winona team that rolled to an 8-0 victory in last year's meeting. "We played Winona much better this year," second-year Farmington coach Julian Buss said.
Fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Eagan got all it could handle from Farmington last Thursday afternoon. The Wildcats trailed by a goal for much of the game before a spurt of three goals in less than 10 minutes allowed them to escape their home field with a 3-2 victory over the Tigers. "This was a blessing in disguise as the girls spent the last 20 minutes of the game overwhelming the No. 5 team in the state," Farmington coach Rob Carpentier said. "If we had played for the majority of the game like we did in the last 20 minutes the outcome would have been different. I was really proud of the girls.
The Farmington boys finished fifth and the girls sixth at the season-opening Dakota Classic cross country meet Friday in Eagan. The boys scored 149 points, placing them two ahead of Missota Conference rival New Prague. Eagan placed three runners in the top five to take the team title, 35-57, over runner-up Apple Valley. Senior and returning state qualifier Elliot Fenske led the Tigers with a fourth-place time of 10:34 on the 3,200-meter course. Junior Lincoln Kirchoff stepped into the No. 2 spot and finished 29th out of 52 runners in 11:33.
A couple big plays gave Farmington some hope, but a stagnant second half on the offensive end allowed Hudson (Wis.) to take control in a 30-13 home opener Friday night at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers, who return just four players who saw significant time for last year's varsity team, were on the verge of trailing 17-0 late in the first half before Hudson lost a fumble inside the Farmington five-yard line.
The Farmington volleyball, boys soccer and girls soccer teams all suffered setbacks Thursday night. The volleyball team suffered its first setback of the season 25-19, 25-13, 25-11 at Lakeville South. The Tiger boys soccer team was also dealt its first loss of the year, 2-1 at home against a Winhawks team that defeated them 8-0 last season. The girls soccer team evened its record at 2-2 with a 3-2 loss at Eagan.
A little adversity didn't affect the new-look Farmington volleyball team in its first game of the 2010 season. The Tigers, playing with a lineup that featured just two returning letterwinners from last year's state-qualifying team, overcame a five-point deficit late in Game 2 and held on after a back-and-forth Game 3 to score a season-opening 25-17, 26-24, 27-25 sweep of Hasting Friday night in Hastings. "They played really well together," coach Mike Woody said.
A busy first week of the season resulted in an 0-3 start for the Farmington girls tennis team. The Tigers sandwiched a 7-0 loss to South St. Paul Tuesday with a pair of third-place triangular finishes at the Mound Doubles Tournament and their own Farmington Invitational. "While we have played well, our opponents have for the most part been better," Farmington coach Jack Olwell said. "It has been a lean start to the year but the players are making great progress and the team has bonded well.
The Farmington girls swimming and diving team started the 2010 season by winning four events in a 95-88 dual victory over Apple Valley Thursday afternoon at Dodge Middle School. Cora Ruzicka and Kirsten Kracke were each part of two of those first-place finishes. Ruzicka edged teammate Chloe Holton for a winning time of 1 minute, 10.19 seconds in the 100 butterfly and Kracke finished just ahead of teammate Delaney Wright for a 1-2 Tiger showing in the 500 freestyle. Ruzicka, Kracke, Ellie Sundet and Kaitlyn O'Reilly closed out the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:59.54.
Three-hundred and twenty days later, the Farmington boys soccer team finally got its revenge against Rochester John Marshall. The Rockets cut the Tigers' season short last fall with a 2-1 decision in the section tournament that was their first victory after an 0-14-1 regular season.
The first two games of the 2010 season played out much like the 2009 campaign for the Farmington girls soccer team. The Tigers showcased superior soccer skills in a season-opening 8-0 win at Faribault last Thursday, but couldn't keep pace against a much more physical Prior Lake team in a 2-0 road loss Friday. The Tigers finally bucked that trend on Saturday, beating a Waconia team that second-year coach Rob Carpentier described as "young, but very physical" by a score of 3-0.