Fairmont Area goalkeeper Matt Tennyson has helped guide the boys soccer team to a 6-1 record to start the season.
The Cardinals' second-year captain started playing soccer at age 4 and while he has had opportunities to try different positions and a variety of sports, playing goalie in soccer is what he really enjoys.
"When my brothers and I were younger, our parents signed us up for everything. Soccer, football, basketball, baseball and eventually it was our decision with what we wanted to play," said Tennyson. "I really loved soccer and so I kept playing it."
SURE HANDS — Fairmont Area goalkeeper Matt Tennyson corrals a shot on goal during regular-season soccer action against St. Peter on Thursday night at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont. Tennyson has played a key role behind the Cardinals’ 6-1 record this season. Photo by Leanna Becker
For the past three seasons, Tennyson has managed the goaltending duties for the Cardinals, making 207 saves last season and allowing only nine goals so far this season.
In his senior season, Tennyson also scored his first career goal while playing both forward and midfielder against Mankato Loyola last Saturday in Fairmont.
"I really like being in the goal, it's like being the quarterback. You can see everything and help your teammates know what's going on," said Tennyson.
As a younger player, Tennyson played other positions besides goalie, but a torn ACL during his freshman year kept him off the field. With his return to the game during his sophomore year, he focused more on goalie and found a passion for it.
Three of Fairmont Area's five wins this season have been decided by one goal, with the game against Southwest Minnesota Christian going into overtime.
Tennyson, like any successful goalie, isn't fazed by the pressure of close games.
"Being the goalie, the team understands if I make a mistake. They have my back and they know if they make a mistake I'm going to have their back. The team aspect of soccer forces you to rely on 10 other guys to win and so it's never a one-person game," said Tennyson.
As a team, Fairmont Area was able to make it to the sectional finals last season, but lost 5-0 to Willmar in the semifinals.
This summer, however, Fairmont's U17 traveling soccer team was able earn a little redemption with a 3-2 win over Willmar in the opening round of the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association State Tournament with Tennyson in goal.
"Last year in the section (semifinal), Willmar played the game of their life against us," said Tennyson. "It was nice to beat them this summer, but we really want to get back to the section championship game this year and hopefully, get to the (Class A) state tournament."
This year's Cardinal lineup features eight seniors, including Tennyson, and after years of playing together, the group is really looking forward to finishing its final high school season on a strong note.
"We've all been playing together since we were in U12. (Joe) Washa plays on defense and we always know what the other will do and I know where all of the others want the ball," said Tennyson. "This season, we really want to finish well."