FAIRMONT - The Fairmont Area Cardinals boys soccer team took care of earning its first game of the season and its first South Central Conference win, beating Mankato Loyola 2-0 on Thursday at the Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont.
The Cardinals, who have been playing without senior netminder Trason Arens due to a broken finger, got some big saves from junior Sam Havnen to blank the Crusaders.
"I think that Sam did a good job for us tonight," said Fairmont Area head coach Jeff Kot. "He was in the right place at the right time and covered up some mistakes and kept them from scoring."
HEADS-UP?PLAY — Fairmont Area’s Derek Hunwardsen heads the ball over Mankato Loyola’s Luke VanBlarcom (19) during SCC soccer action Thursday in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Henrique Marquez (21) looks on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Havnen stopped all 11 of the Crusaders' shots on net, including a critical penalty shot just over seven minutes into the second half.
Mankato Loyola's Patrick Busch charged through the Fairmont Area defensemen and was bumped as he attempted a shot, allowing the junior a penalty kick against the Cardinal goalkeeper.
Busch then smacked his shot to the left side of the net, but Havnen turned it away to keep the game scoreless.
"We picked up the intensity after Sam made that save. Give him some credit for that," said Kot. "We needed some confidence after our first couple games and when he made that save, we got some and really upped our game."
With 8:20 left in the game though, the Cardinals were finally able to break open the scoreless game.
Fairmont Area's Manuel Martinez battled through a pack of Crusader defenders in the Mankato Loyola end and slid the shot past the visiting goaltender Logan Stock for the 1-0 lead.
"We are a young team and with the way our first games have gone, we needed some confidence and something good to happen for us," said Kot. "Once we had that save that kept them from scoring and added a goal you could just tell we played better."
Eight minutes and three seconds later, Peter Nielsen then added to the Cardinal edge, sending a Brock Johnson centering pass into the right side of the net to make it 2-0.
Evan Ward helped provide some offense for the Cardinals early in the second half, sending a kick into the Crusaders' penalty box where Arens just missed a header attempt for a goal.
Fairmont Area's Derek Hunwardsen also created a scoring chance, sending a blast on net from the right side for one of the Cardinals' 10 shots on goal, making Loyola's Stock dive to his right to make one of his eight saves.
"For our team, we need to have confidence that we can make plays and confidence in each other that we can win," said Kot. "With ball control, confidence and trust I think we can keep getting better."
Fairmont Area (1-3, 1-2 South Central) plays host to the defending Section 2A champion Mankato East Cougars at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Kot Soccer Complex.
Mankato Loyola (0-3-1) travels for an 11 a.m. game against Worthington on Saturday.
Mankato Loyola 0-0-0
Fairmont Area 0-2-2
FA - Manuel Martinez (unassisted), 8:20.
FA - Peter Nielsen (Brock Johnson), 0:17.
Saves: Sam Havnen (FA) 11; Logan Stock (ML) 8.
Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 10; Mankato Loyola 11.
The Fairmont Area Cardinals shut out the Mankato Loyola Crusaders 3-0 in B-squad soccer action on Thursday in Fairmont.
Austin Becker scored with assists from Hunter Jorgensen and Dominic Armitage to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Ethan Lubenow then doubled the Cardinals' lead with a helper from Renaldo Escalante, giving Fairmont Area the 2-0 lead at half.
Austin Becker then capped off Fairmont Area's scoring effort with a tally on a pass from Noah Becker in the second half.
Jarrod Daniel stopped all 12 of the Crusaders' shots on net, while the Cardinals sent 15 shots on goal.
Fairmont Area 1, Mankato Loyola 0 - Junior Lexi Johnson netted the lone goal of the game as the Cardinals soccer team defeated the Crusaders 1-0 in a South Central Conference game on Thursday in Mankato.
Johnson converted a double-assist from Courtney Guetter and Quincy Quiring, sending the ball into the goal at the nine-minute mark.
Goaltender Jesseca Koskovich made eight saves for the Cardinals in the first half, while Cardinal teammate Alex Christianson made seven saves in the second half to stop all 15 of the Crusaders' shots on goal.
The Cardinals fired 12 shots on net in the conference win.
Fairmont Area (2-1, 1-0 South Central) plays host to New Ulm in a SCC game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont.