FAIRMONT - Sierra Schultz arrived at Kot Soccer Complex an hour and a half before the start of Tuesday's junior varsity game to fine-tune her shooting.
"She got here at 3:30 (p.m.) because she wanted to work on finishing her shots," Fairmont Area soccer mentor Matt Nielsen said in reference to his fleet-footed sophomore striker.
Schultz achieved her pre-game goal literally by delivering the hometown Cardinals' pivotal tying goal with 6:16 remaining in regulation.
HEADS-UP PLAY — Faribault midfielder Jessie Mazzio (7) looks to utilize a header on the soccer ball as Fairmont Area striker Sierra Schultz (13) pursues during nonconference action Tuesday at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont. Cardinal midfielder Brooklyn Leichtnam (3) watches the play. Photo by Leanna Becker
Junior midfielder Natalie Shimon then delivered the game-winning goal during the first five-minute half of overtime to propel Fairmont Area to a 2-1 non-league victory over the Faribault Falcons in Fairmont.
"It's obviously better to be the team that ties it up to force overtime than the team giving up the lead," Nielsen said with a grin. "Schultz's goal definitely gave us the momentum going into the overtime."
After Fairmont Area goalkeeper Jess Koskovich and Faribault netminder Anna Marquard made two saves each to produce a scoreless first half, sophomore midfielder Teza Vargas-Jaramillo found a gap in the Cardinal defensive zone and ended the shutout with 19:09 left in the second segment.
Vargas-Jaramillo weaved through a pair of defenders along the left wing before uncorking a left-to-right shot that caught the right corner of the net to stake the Falcons to a 1-0 lead.
Ironically, Schultz, along with teammate Lexi Johnson, nearly erased the zero on the scoreboard during the opening 10 minutes of the second half, misfiring by mere inches.
"I think I counted seven breakaways, but we just couldn't get the ball to go in," said Nielsen.
Schultz's seventh sprint upfield, however, proved the equalizer as the grass-hugging grounder beat an aggressive Marquard, who ventured near the far reaches of the keeper's box. Schultz's slow right-to-left skidder trickled into the net to knot the game at 1-all with 6:16 remaining.
Shimon then delivered the game-winning goal by approaching the end line before launching a shot that caromed oddly past Marquard and caught the left corner of the webbing with 1:53 left in the first five-minute segment of overtime.
Koskovich - along with Talitha Burtis, Hayley Jones, Kayley Shoen and Brooklyn Leichtnam - denied the Falcons access to the Cardinal net throughout the game.
Koskovich made nine saves to earn the victory for the Cardinals, while Marquard tallied 10 stops on the game.
Fairmont Area (3-3-1, 0-2 South Central) travels to St. Peter on Thursday night for a 7 p.m. conference clash. Faribault (1-6) hits the road to Winona on Thursday.
Faribault - Teza Vargas-Jaramillo (unassisted), 19:09.
Fairmont - Sierra Schultz (unassisted), 6:16.
Fairmont - Natalie Shimon (unassisted), 6:53.
Saves: Jess Koskovich (Fairmont) 2-6-1-9; Anna Marquard (Faribault) 2-6-2-10.
Shots on goal: Faribault 2-7-1-10; Fairmont 2-8-2-12.
Fairmont Area and Faribault battled to a 2-2 tie in junior varsity action Tuesday in Fairmont.
No individual scoring was reported.
Fairmont Area hits the road to St. Peter on Thursday.
Mankato East 3, Fairmont Area 1 - The Cougars dealt the Cardinals boys soccer team their first loss of the season on Tuesday, winning the nonconference game 3-1 in Mankato.
The Cougars' Jibril Ibrahim scored the first goal of the game at 13:42 to stake East to a 1-0 lead that held through halftime.
Fairmont Area tied the game at 14:47 in the second half when Oscar Svenfelt sent a Grant Becker centering pass into the Cougar net.
Ibrahim netted his second goal at 12:13 in the second half to restore the Cougar lead at 2-1.
At 11:11 in the second half, Fairmont Area was called for tripping inside the goalie box and Albert Padshivaylov sent the penalty kick passed keeper Matt Tennyson to make it 3-1.
Tennyson made eight saves Cardinals, which fired 11 shots on net. East fired 14 shots on net, while keeper Nick Olson recorded six saves.
Fairmont Area (5-1, 2-0 South Central) hosts St. Peter in a South Central Conference game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Kot Soccer Complex.
Mankato East shut out Fairmont 4-0 in junior varsity action on Tuesday.
The Cougars scored two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second. The final Cougar goal came on a penalty kick in the second half.
Kyle Tromanhauser made 12 saves for Fairmont Area, which had seven shots on goal.