FAIRMONT - Fairmont Area head coach Jeff Kot probably wouldn't mind reducing the length of a prep soccer game to only 40 minutes.
"I believe that's the third time this season that we've led 1-0 at the half only to be outscored during the second half," Kot said in reference to St. Peter's three-goal offensive surge during the latter half of Thursday night's 80-minute clash that fueled the Saints' 3-1 South Central Conference comeback win. "We didn't have many scoring opportunities in the first half, but Evan (Ward) managed to capitalize on one of those chances."
With St. Peter netminder Arick Mayo and Fairmont Area goalkeeper Trason Arens maintaining shutouts, Mayo actually got beat via Ward's ricocheting end-line blast that hit a Saints' defender and trickled into the net with only 1:32 remaining in the opening segment.
DRIBBLING BY — Fairmont Area’s Ben Timmerman (15) dribble drives around St. Peter’s Joseph More during South Central Conference soccer action Thursday night at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"It's just one of those plays. I told them (the Saints) it happens, and you have to forget about it," St. Peter mentor Dave Borslien said about the Cardinals' only goal.
Ben Gault heeded his head coach's advice at intermission, delivering the equalizing goal via a one-touch putback kick only 8 minutes into the second half. Abdullali Hussein drilled the initial shot on the play, but Arens managed to tip the ball away only to watch Gault knock home the rebound just inside the right post.
"Trason did another super job in goal tonight, but it seems like once (opposing) teams score that first goal, they turn it (intensity) up a notch. It's almost like that first goal energizes them," said Kot.
A mere 14 1/2 minutes later, Killian Bixby and Tanner Nadeau executed a perfect drive-and-dish play to get the Saints' offense revving down the second half's stretch.
Bixby worked the right end line, ran into traffic, pulled the ball back out and zipped a crossing pass to Nadeau, who was waiting on the doorstep for the chip-in to put St. Peter ahead 2-1 at the 17:33 mark.
Ironically, Bixby and Nadeau worked a perfect two-player game again, with Bixby cutting inside off of the end line before threading his pass to Nadeau along the left point. Nadeau felt pressure to his right, spun left and booted in his second goal of the game for a 3-1 edge with 10:39 left in regulation.
"It's a chess match out there, and Killian kept working to find the angle. He felt the pressure come from the end line, found a seam and got the ball to Tanner," said Borslien. "That was a nice play."
Fairmont Area's Sam Havnen and Brock Johnson nearly found St. Peter's net on downfield rushes within a 2-minute sliver of time in the second half, but just missed by mere inches.
Johnson's left-wing push and sinking liner just sailed wide of the right post with 15:30 left in the game, while Havnen's direct kick from the point just skimmed the top of the cross bar and over the cage with 13 minutes to go.
Arens posted 16 saves for the Cardinals, while Mayo chalked up seven stops for the Saints.
Fairmont Area 1-6, 0-4 SCC) faces Marshall at noon Saturday in the first round of the Albert Lea Invitet. St. Peter (7-2, 2-2) travels to Southwest Minnesota Christian on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game.
St. Peter 0-3-3
FA - Evan Ward (unassisted), 1:32.
SP - Ben Gault (Abdullali Hussein), 32:01.
SP - Tanner Nadeau (Killian Bixby), 17:33.
SP - Nadeau (Bixby), 10:39.
Shots on goal: St. Peter 8-11-19; Fairmont Area 4-4-8.
Saves: Trason Arens (FA) 8-8-16; Arick Mayo (SP) 3-4-7.
St. Peter shut out Fairmont Area, 4-0, during junior varsity action Thursday in Fairmont.
Cardinal goalkeeper Trevor Iverson made eight saves, while Fairmont Area generated six shots on goal.
St. Peter posted an 8-0 victory over Fairmont Area during C-squad play Thursday in Fairmont.
Jarrod Daniel, Malecha Anderson and Thomas Havnen combined between the pipes to record a dozen saves for the Cardinals.
St. Peter 5, Fairmont Area 1 - Emily Lind produced a hat trick, while Marta Springer supplied one goal and two assists to power the Saints to a 5-1 South Central Conference victory over the Cardinals on Thursday night in St. Peter.
Maggie Anderson, however, triggered St. Peter's first-half offensive surge by finding Fairmont Area's net at the 32-minute mark.
The Saints' lethal 1-2 combination of Springer and Lind then combined for the ensuing three goals en route to a 4-0 halftime edge.
Springer knocked home an unassisted goal at the 24-minute juncture before Springer delivered passes to Lind for back-to-back goals at the 15- and 10-minute marks of the opening segment.
Fairmont Area midfielder Brooklyn Leichtnam then spoiled St. Peter's shutout bid by nailing a 30-yard free kick off the hands of goalie Kayle Neubauer with 18 minutes left in the second half.
Lind capped her hat trick by netting an unassisted goal with 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
Jess Koskovich made eight saves while tending the net in the first half for the Cardinals, while Alex Christianson tallied six stops in the second half.
Desi Krueger notched three first-half saves between the pipes for the Saints before Neubauer made one stop in the second half.
Fairmont Area (3-2-1, 2-1-1 SCC) faces Stewartville at 10 a.m. Saturday in the first round of the Albert Lea Tournament. St. Peter (5-1, 2-1) plays host to Class AA, No. 1-ranked Minnetonka at 7 p.m. Saturday night.
St. Peter 4-1-5
SP - Maggie Anderson (unassisted), 32:00.
SP - Marta Springer (unassisted), 24:00.
SP - Emily Lind (Springer), 15:00.
SP - Lind (Springer), 10:00.
FA - Brooklyn Leichtnam (unassisted), 18:00.
SP - Lind (unassisted), 15:00.
Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 3-2-5; St. Peter 12-7-19.
Saves: Jess Koskovich (FA) 8-x-8, Alex Christianson (FA) x-6-6; Desi Krueger (SP) 3-x-3, Kayle Neubauer (SP) x-1-1.