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Tigers soccer teams ready themselves for sections

Junior defender Tessa Ericksen intercepts an Eagan pass. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Senior forward Corey McKnight jumps high in the air to lob a shot over the Eagan goalkeeper's head for the goal. That goal proved to be the difference as Farmington won 1-0. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The Farmington boys' soccer team ended its regular season with a 1-0 loss to Lakeville South and a 1-0 victory over Eagan. They finished with a 9-2-5 overall record and were 4-1-4 in the South Suburban Conference, which put them in fourth place. Meanwhile, the girls finished the regular season in a slump by losing six straight and closed with a 2-12-2 overall record. However, head coach Aaron Johnson said his team still has plenty of optimism, especially given their draw in the section playoffs.

Boys set themselves up for success

The Tiger boys are the fourth seed and hosted a match against the No. 5 seed Owatonna on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Their last two games of the regular season were tight, 1-0 games. In their win against Eagan, senior Corey McKnight was able to challenge the Eagan goalkeeper and sneak a goal past him near the end of the first half. The Tigers were then able to hold onto their lead behind a good defense led by senior goalkeeper Zach Berg.

Farmington and Owatonna met in the very first match of the season and played to a 1-1 tie. Should the Tigers win, they will face the winner of top-seed Rochester Mayo and eighth-seeded New Prague on Thursday, Oct. 12, with the game played at the highest-seed.

Girls hope to be back at full strength

The girls' head coach Aaron Johnson believes his team has yet to play to their best ability and have been held back by several obstacles.

"We've had a few girls out with concussions and the last week or two we've had a couple girls out being sick," he explained. "I don't know, if they all would have been there, that we would have beaten Eagan or Lakeville South, but I think injuries and sickness are kind of stopping us from playing our best games. They've slowed our growth down a little bit. I still don't think we've played our best games and I'm hoping that going into sections we'll have healthier bodies and a chance to play our best."

Johnson also speculated that his team could end up with a good enough seed to play a school like Rochester John Marshall, who the Tigers tied earlier in the season and seemed to dominate in all areas but on the scoreboard. Well his speculation turned into fact as Farmington received the fifth seed and travel to Rochester to take on fourth-seeded John Marshall. Should they win, they would play the winner of top-seed Owatonna and eighth-seeded New Prague on Thursday, Oct. 12.

Heading into their matchup with John Marshall, Johnson said that the Tigers need to improve defensively.

"The last couple games we've given up, I think, some pretty soft goals and then kind of let that affect our play," he said. "It seems that we don't just give up a goal, we give up goals in bunches, we give up one and it ends up being three or four. I'm hoping we've kind of learned from that and if we give up a goal we'll be a little bit tougher mentally and not let it turn into two or three."

However, with the schedule Farmington has played, Johnson believes his team will be ready to play no matter who they play.

"We've played a really tough schedule," he said. "Our nonconference schedule has been pretty brutal, but we said we wanted to play some tough teams to help us get ready (for sections). So regardless of who we play in sections, if we can get healthy, we're battle tested."

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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