FAIRMONT - Marta Anderson proved why she earned all-state soccer accolades last fall - the Mankato East senior striker finds ways to generate points.
Anderson assisted midfielder Hannah Whitington's second-half goal before drilling home an unassisted insurance goal with 1:44 remaining in regulation to help the visiting Cougars scratch the Fairmont Area Cardinals, 2-0, Tuesday in Fairmont.
"That's why she's been all-conference, all-section, all-state for the last couple of years," Cardinal mentor Matt Nielsen said in reference to the high-scoring Anderson.
TAKING THE ANGLE — Fairmont Area defender Kayley Shoen (left) takes the angle to defend against Mankato East midfielder Amanda Broman’s rush upfield during nonconference soccer action Thursday in Fairmont. Photo by Leanna Becker
In fact, the 2011 Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association's all-state forward nearly reached the scoring column during the latter stages of a scoreless first half at Kot Soccer Complex.
East's co-captain and field general weaved through traffic before lining a laser off of the crossbar near the three-minute juncture of the opening segment.
Despite constant pressure from Anderson and junior midfielder Amanda Broman that allowed the Cougars to net a 16-6 shots-on-goal edge on the non-league clash, Fairmont Area goalkeeper Alexis Christianson maintained her first-half shutout bid by recording four of her dozen saves on the night.
"I thought Alex did a nice job for us tonight," said Nielsen. "We matched up pretty evenly with East, but we just got away from our passing game.
"That was definitely one of the most physical games we've ever played this early in the season."
Defenders Mackenzie Betts, Nicole Lenort and Talitha Burtis, along with midfielder Brooklyn Leichtnam, supplied a number of defensive gems to help Christianson keep the game scoreless by intermission.
"Talitha Burtis really saved us near the end of the first half," said Nielsen.
With Anderson driving, Christianson ventured away from the net to block a shot, but Broman tracked down the carom and fired from the end line at a temporarily-open net. Burtis quickly filled the crease to kick the ball out of danger's way with 4:20 left before halftime.
Fairmont Area's best chance to score occurred only six minutes into the second half as striker Sierra Schultz made a right-wing rush upfield before threading a pass to a breaking Caitlin Parsley along the left wing. Parsley squared up and drilled a riser that just sailed over the East crossbar at the 34-minute mark.
The Cougars ended the shutout, however, when Anderson's left endline shot was denied by Christianson before Whitington chipped in the ricochet at the 19:26 juncture.
Anderson then displayed her speed by chasing down a long pass before accelerating past midfielders and defenders on a left-wing rush. Anderson then slid a crossing shot into the right side of the net for a 2-0 edge with only 1:44 left in regulation.
East goalie Kelsey Ekstedt made six saves to net the victory, while Christianson tallied 12 stops for Fairmont Area.
The Cardinals (1-1) travel to Waseca next Tuesday for their South Central Conference opener.
The Cougars (2-1) hit the road to Winona on Thursday night.
ME - Hannah Whitington (Marta Anderson), 19:26.
ME - Anderson (unassisted), 1:44.
Saves: Alexis Christianson (FA) 4-8-12; Kelsey Ekstedt (ME) 2-4-6.
Shots on goal: Mankato East 6-10-16; Fairmont Area 2-4-6.
Mankato East edged Fairmont Area, 2-1, in junior varsity action Tuesday in Fairmont.
Sydney Leichtnam scored the Cardinals' only goal.
Cassidy Krusemark and Jess Koskovich tended goal in the first and second halves, respectively, for Fairmont Area.
The Cardinals junior varsity (1-1) travels to New Prague today.