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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Krystal Baumann and Hannah Alexander combined for 266 goals and 186 assists while helping Farmington win 119 games over the last six years. With the high-scoring tandem lost to graduation, the Tigers may have to find a way to win a few more low-scoring games this season. Senior goaltender Jessica Erchul helped them do that in last Thursday's season opener, stopping 26 shots in a 2-1 win over Rochester John Marshall at Schmitz-Maki Arena. The Rockets got on the board first on a 5-on-3 power play 4:31 into the first period.
Farmington turned in six school-record swims and qualified six events for the upcoming Class 2A State Meet during a third-place finish in the Section 1AA Championships Saturday at the Rochester Rec Center. Rochester John Marshall defeated runner-up Rochester Mayo 381-374 for the team title. The Tigers were third in the eight-team field with 316 points. Kaitlyn O'Reilly captured the Tigers' lone section title, winning the 100 backstroke in a section-record time of 57.18 seconds.
Senior goaltender Jessica Erchul stopped 26 shots in a season-opening 2-1 win over Rochester John Marshall Thursday night at Schmitz-Maki Arena. All three goals were scored in the first period. The Rockets took an early lead on a 5-on-3 power play, but Haley Doll quickly answered with a goal to tie the game. Chloe Batta scored on a wrap-around with under a minute left in the period that turned out the be the difference-maker. The Tigers (1-0) complete again this weekend when they make their first appearance at the six-team Hibbing jamboree.
It was rare to see a Farmington player on both offense and defense this season. The Tigers instituted a platoon system this year that allowed players to focus either on offense or defense. The result, according to head coach Mark Froehling, was a team that showed up on Friday nights much more prepared as it won three games and played its opponents close into the fourth quarter in six of nine outings. "The system allowed us to spend more time teaching and learning on both sides of the ball. The players liked it and the coaches liked teaching in that system.
You lose just three players from last year's 20-7 team, but they're a very important three players in forwards Krystal Baumann, Hannah Alexander and Emily Severson. How does the absence of those three affect your overall style of play? Will you play a more defensive-minded game or does your strategy not change that much based on personnel? Defense is always a priority for any team. This year we have pledged to each other as players and coaches that we will take pride in how we take care of our defensive zone. There are many ways to go about creating a philosophy on how to win games.
2011 Farmington graduate Katie Habeck was recently named first-team all-conference and Freshman of the Year by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Habeck, Farmington's all-time leader in kills and blocks, has 212 kills and a team-leading 97 total blocks for a Golden Bears volleyball team that boasts a record of 26-2, including a 16-2 mark in the NSIC. The six-foot middle blocker averages 1.08 blocks per set, which is third in the NSIC and 38th in the nation. Her .349 attack percentage is second in the NSIC and 33rd in the nation.
The Tigers' season may be over, but Farmington football fans can still see one more game on the Tiger Stadium turf this year. Fifth-ranked Caledonia (10-1) will take on Maple Lake (7-4) Friday night at 7 p.m. in the opening round of the Class 2A State Tournament at Tiger Stadium. The winner will advance to a date with the winner of Paynesville Area-Warroad next Saturday at the Metrodome. The other four teams alive in Class 2A are Pierz, Moose Lake/Willow River, Watertown-Elysian-Morristown and Blue Earth Area.
St. Olaf College freshman Carl Elmer, an all-state wrestler for Farmington High School last year, placed fourth at 149 pounds in his first collegiate tournament Saturday in Rochester. Elmer went 2-2 with a pair of wins over opponents from Rochester Community Technical College at the Yellow Jacket Open. He lost a 7-6 decision to champion Thomas Allen in the semifinals.
Looking at only the team standings, a casual observer would see the Farmington boys cross country team slipped from eighth at last year's section meet to ninth at last Wednesday's Section 1AA Championships at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna. But the team results don't tell the full story of just how much the program has improved in head coach Lisa Lippold's first season. In placing eighth last fall, the Tigers were carried by a seventh-place finish from senior standout Elliot Fenske.
The Farmington volleyball team had its 7-20 season come to an end with a 3-0 loss to Red Wing in the opening round of the Section 1AAA tournament last Wednesday in Red Wing. The Tigers overcame an early deficit in the opening game to get back within a point late, but Red Wing held on for a 25-23 victory. The Wingers carried that momentum over into the next two games as they pulled away, 25-17 and 25-9. "After losing Game 1, I think the way to sum up the rest of the match was to say we were trying too hard," Farmington coach Mike Woody said.