FAIRMONT - Austin's postseason girls soccer triumph over Fairmont Area on Monday night could affectionately be described as 'squirrely.'
Breanna Ritter, whose moniker is Squirrel, delivered both of the Packers' goals, while goalkeeper Chloe Summerfield pitched a shutout to guide the No. 9 seeds to a 2-0 first-round Section 2A victory over the No. 8-seeded Fairmont Area Cardinals.
Austin (7-8-1) advances to play No. 1-seeded Mankato East (13-3) in a sectional quarterfinal clash on Thursday at the Kennedy Elementary School soccer fields in Mankato. East earned a first-round bye.
UPFIELD RUSH — Austin midfielder Carolyn Hackel (4) makes an upfield rush as Fairmont Area defender Hailey Wolter looks to cut her off during first-round Section 2A soccer playoff action Monday at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont. Austin’s Nicole Lipari (11) looks on. Photo by Leanna Becker
Fairmont Area ended its season with a 5-10-2 record.
Ironically, Austin also avenged a 3-1 season-opening loss at the feet of Fairmont Area back on Aug. 23 at the Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont.
Ritter, a junior midfielder who sports the No. 15 jersey, generated all of the offense that the Packers would need, with the sure-handed Summerfield keeping the Cardinals off of the scoreboard.
Ritter delivered the playoff clash's initial goal by being in the right place at the right time. Austin forward Hannah Voogd weaved through traffic along the right end line before delivering the pass to Ritter for the tap-in. Ritter's goal staked the Packers to a 1-0 lead with 33:04 remaining in the opening half.
"When I was a freshman, there were four girls on our team named Breanna and it got confusing at practice, so our coach told us that one or two of us needed a nickname," Ritter explained on how she got her moniker. "I guess he thought I was all over the field when I played and it resembled a squirrel, and it (nickname) stuck."
Ritter lived up to her moniker by firing two more shots at Fairmont Area goalkeeper Alexis Christianson, who recorded seven of her nine saves to pitch a shutout for the remainder of the first half.
Meanwhile, Summerfield, a freshman netminder, displayed her vast improvement between the pipes since the two teams' season-opener just six weeks ago.
Summerfield displayed her lateral quickness and rapid reflexes by facing a penalty kick by Fairmont Area midfielder Katie Nicoson on the heels of an Austin handball infraction inside the box. Nicoson drilled a hard liner toward the right post only to have Summerfield make an incredible goal-robbing sliding save before catching the Cardinals' rebound shot, too, at the 23:45 juncture of the first half.
Ritter then squirreled away the Packers' playoff victory by hammering home a penalty kick at the 12:20 juncture of the second half. Ritter started from the right elbow of the box before cutting a sharp-angled blast into the left corner of the net.
Summerfield made five saves to earn the shutout victory for the Packers, while Christianson turned away nine shots for the Cardinals.
A - Breanna Ritter (Hannah Voogd), 33:04.
A - Breanna Ritter (penalty kick), 12:20.
Saves: Alexis Christianson (F) 7-2-9; Chloe Summerfield (A) 4-1-5.
Shots on goal: Austin 8-3-11; Fairmont Area 4-1-5.