Tigers celebrate conference title

Girls soccer expecting a home game to start playoffs

The Farmington girls soccer team won the Missota Conference title for the first time Tuesday by shutting out Holy Angels 1-0 for one of the biggest victories in school history.

When asked how it felt to win the conference, senior captains Leah Zak and Sydney Eckert could barely contain themselves.

“It was amazing,” Zak said.

“Wonderful,” Eckert said.

Holy Angels was a formidable opponent for the Tigers and led in time of possession.

“We were outplayed,” Tigers head coach Rob Carpentier said. “We had some moments where we really took it to them, but otherwise they were the better team. Usually we dictate plays, but they were playing with more sense of urgency.”

The Holy Angels goalkeeper spent most of the first 20 minutes watching as the Stars put pressure on Farmington keeper Ashley Becker.

“We started out really rough,” Zak said. “But once we scored you could just feel it on the field.”

Slowly the momentum switched to the Tigers and with less than six minutes remaining in the first half, Hannah Miller scored on a free kick from about 30 yards out as the Holy Angels keeper bobbled the ball.

“It was one of the luckiest goals I’ve ever seen,” Carpentier said. “I feel terrible for that keeper.”

Miller said she didn’t expect it to go in.

“I started to turn away and then I saw it go through her legs,” Miller said.

“I’ve never seen her so happy,” Eckert said. “I’ve never seen a goal like that, not in a game like this.”

As the minutes passed the Stars’ sense of urgency increased, but corner kicks and shots off the crossbar didn’t help because they couldn’t get the ball past Becker and the rest of the Tiger defense.

“We’ve got the best defense in the conference and one of the best in the metro,” Carpentier said. “When the pressure was on, they put up a wall. It was amazing. It was like, we know we’re being outplayed but they’re not getting through us.”

Isabelle Ferm, Zak and Kayla Kucala have been instrumental in keeping the goal clear.

“We all work so well together,” Zak said. “It’s all about communication.”

Holy Angels, the No. 7-ranked team in Class A, was the latest Farmington shutout victim. Farmington now has nine shutouts this season and has not allowed a goal in conference play.

The Tigers played Shakopee on Thursday night, after Sun Thisweek’s deadline. No matter what happened in that game, the Tigers earned at least a share of the conference title with the victory over Holy Angels.

With the first goal of winning the conference complete, the girls now move onto the Section 1AA tournament, which begins Oct. 11.

The Tigers have never played a home game or advanced beyond the first round, but the girls are planning on changing that in the coming weeks.

Farmington has one of the best records of any team in the section and has victories over Rochester Century, Rochester John Marshall and Northfield.

The girls also have ties against Lakeville South and Rochester Mayo. Losses to Owatonna and Lakeville North will keep them out of the top seed, but a first-round home game is likely.

“We have to take this momentum into the playoffs,” Miller said.

Tiger boys

Holy Angels was a tough opponent for the Farmington boys soccer team Tuesday.

The Stars average almost five goals per game and have allowed only six all season.

The Tigers average 1.4 goals per game, so the odds were against them – and so were the calls early in Tuesday night’s game.

Holy Angels scored its first two goals on penalty kicks and it got worse from there for the Tigers. Holy Angels was up 5-0 less than 30 minutes into the game en route a 7-0 victory.

It was the worst loss of the season for the Tigers, who were 8-6-1 with one regular-season game left against Shakopee.

Going into the Section 1AA playoffs, Owatonna and Rochester Mayo have better records and have beaten Farmington. But the Tigers have a few things going for them, including a victory over section favorite Northfield along with victories over Lakeville South, Rochester John Marshall and Rochester Century.