FAIRMONT - Rochester John Marshall outshot Fairmont Area by a 3-to-1 margin during Saturday's non-league soccer clash, but hometown goalkeeper Matt Tennyson proved more than worthy of the task at hand.
Tennyson gloved, tipped and batted away 27 of the visiting Rockets' 28 shots, while the multi-tasking sophomore tandem of Derek Hunwardsen and Joe Nordquist delivered goals to engineer the Cardinals' 2-1 victory at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont.
"What can I say? He's one of the best goalies in southern Minnesota," Fairmont Area head coach Jeff Kot said in reference to the hard-working Tennyson.
KEEP AWAY — Fairmont Area striker Grant Becker (right) maneuvers while keeping the ball away from Rochester John Marshall defender Alexander Fathie during non-league soccer action Saturday in Fairmont. Photo by Leanna Becker
Striker Adnan Mustic, however, managed to curl the Rockets' first shot of the game into the narrow space between a diving Tennyson and the right pipe to stake the visitors to a 1-0 lead with less than five minutes elapsed.
"He (Mustic) received a nice touch (pass) and got us on the scoreboard early," Rocket head coach Tony Birch said in reference to midfielder Ben Jensen's assist at the 35:54 juncture.
Despite being outshot 16-5 in the opening half en route to a 28-9 deficit for the game, Fairmont Area proved more efficient in finding the net than its counterpart from Rochester.
Hunwardsen, who scored a goal during the Cardinal junior varsity team's 3-3 tie with the Rockets prior to the varsity game, put himself in the right place at the right time. Lucas Miles drove the ball into traffic before spotting Grant Becker. John Marshall netminder Lane Scott deflected Becker's crossing shot, but Hunwardsen drilled the carom off the underside of the crossbar and into the net for the equalizer at the 11:10 mark.
"Our young guys - Derek Hunwardsen, Joe Nordquist and Evan Ward - had to work hard today after playing for part of the earlier (JV) game," said Kot. "We don't have much depth now, but they really helped us out today."
In fact, Nordquist - like Hunwardsen - collected the first goal of his varsity career, and it proved to be the game-winner. Becker lofted a corner kick that ricocheted off of players in front of the Rockets' net before Nordquist chipped home the go-ahead goal near the right pipe at the 4:42 juncture.
With Fairmont Area clinging to a 2-1 lead, Tennyson denied all 12 of John Marshall's shots on goal during the final 40 minutes to exit Kot Soccer Complex with a victory.
Rockets' striker Bilal Abdelqader lined a left-to-right liner just off of the pipe with eight minutes left in regulation before Tennyson stonewalled Mustic on a left-side breakaway rush at the three-minute mark.
Fairmont Area (1-0) plays host to Southwest Minnesota Christian on Thursday at Kot Soccer Complex.
Rochester John Marshall (0-2) travels to Farmington on Thursday.
RJM - Adnan Mustic (Ben Jensen), 35:54.
F - Derek Hunwardsen (Grant Becker, Lucas Miles), 11:10.
F - Joe Nordquist (Becker), 4:41.
Saves: Matt Tennyson (F) 15-12-27; Lane Scott (RJM) 3-4-7.
Shots on goal: Rochester John Marshall 16-12-28; Fairmont Area 5-4-9.
Evan Ward, Derek Hunwardsen and Peter Nielsen each produced solo goals to guide Fairmont Area to a 3-3 tie with Rochester John Marshall during junior varsity action Saturday in Fairmont.
Goalkeeper Drew Anderson made 11 saves for the Cardinals (0-0-1), who travel to New Prague on Wednesday.