FAIRMONT - New Prague goalkeeper Ally Kubes wears the No. 88 jersey for a unique reason.
"Eights are the coolest number because when you put them on their sides, it resembles the sign for eternity," said Kubes, who recorded three saves to help guide the visiting Trojans to a 1-0 nonconference soccer victory over the Fairmont Area Cardinals on Monday in Fairmont. "They also look like zeroes sideways."
Kubes managed to keep the Cardinals' side of the Mahoney Field scoreboard on zero by making a diving save with 25 minutes remaining in the second half.
SETTLING — Fairmont Area defender Sierra Schrader (24) settles the soccer ball as New Prague forward Leah Bissell pursues during non-league action Monday at Mahoney Field in Fairmont. Photo by Leanna Becker
Fairmont Area midfielder Caitlin Parsley settled a high-carom outlet pass at midfield, drove the point and unleashed a left-footed sinking line-drive from 25 yards out. Kubes, a nimble ninth-grader, dove to her right and batted the shot away before it hooked inside the left post.
"I could barely see anything for most of the second half," said Kubes, who outdueled both the westerly wind and glaring sun.
Kubes faced only one Fairmont Area shot-on-goal during the contest's initial 40 minutes, although the Cardinals did net four corner kicks and four shots either wide or over the crossbar.
"It looked like a typical Homecoming Week game on a Monday," said Fairmont Area mentor Matt Nielsen.
Like the Cardinals, the Trojans generated less than a half-dozen shots on goal for the entire game, but made one of their four during the first half hold up for the 1-0 victory.
Forward Ali Jo Hoffman worked her way through traffic before spotting midfielder Annie Algren along the right wing. Algren lofted a high-arching shot that bounced high off the turf and into the right top shelf of the cage at the 21:28 juncture of the first half.
New Prague's Annie Dittberner and Rachel Haecherl played integral roles in Kubes not having to face many direct shots as the two sure-footed Trojan defenders halted numerous Cardinal surges.
Dittberner and Haecherl managed to sneak a cleat onto the soccer ball on drives by Fairmont Area's Sierra Schultz, Lexi Johnson and Katie Nicoson throughout the game to prevent a Cardinal comeback.
Netminder Jess Koskovich made three saves for Fairmont Area during first-half action, while Alexis Christianson notched one stop during the second half.
Fairmont Area (4-7-2, 1-3 South Central) hosts New Ulm at 5 p.m. Thursday, while New Prague (4-8) travels to Chanhassen today.
New Prague 1-0-1
NP - Annie Algren (Ali Jo Hoffman), 21:28.
Saves: Ally Kubes (NP) 1-2-3; Jess Koskovich (FA) 3-x-3; Alexis Christianson (FA) x-1-1.
Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 1-2-3; New Prague 4-1-5.