By Simon Lippert
The Northfield Raider boys soccer team edged out Faribault 2-0 in the section final to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2020.
On a still, mid fifties night in Kasson Mantorville, The Raiders 8-7-1 (4-6-1 Big 9) played arguably their best soccer of the season to take down a scrappy Faribault team 4-7-1(1-6-1 Big 9). The second half of the season the Raiders have just been building and building momentum but it seems as if they have peaked at the perfect time. The Raiders started out the section final match controlling the game against Faribault. Senior striker Manny Ramirez had a few runs towards the goal but just wasn’t able to capitalize. Although the Raider offense was struggling to score, their defense was keeping the Falcons in check. Senior defenders Sam Swedin and Jens Kasten were locking up the Falcons attack, limiting them to only a couple weak shots on net in the early stages of the game. The whole Raiders team on the field were communicating and moving the ball with great precision, but just weren’t able to put the ball in the back of the net leaving the score 0-0 at the half.
After watching the first ten minutes of the second half some spectators definitely thought that this game would never leave the goose egg score line. Just when it seemed as if neither team would find a seam the Raiders did. With thirty minutes left to play in the second half Raider junior Tait Narveson got fouled on a throw in just outside the left corner of the box. Narveson then took the free kick and put the shot perfectly in the top left corner of the goal as the crowd erupted giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
This goal just gave the Raiders more confidence and energy. For the next twenty minutes the Raiders held strong keeping the possession on the Falcons side of the field only giving up a couple shots but these were swallowed up easily by backup sophomore goalie Theo Menk. Now in the 70th minute sophomore Anthony Baez was able to find Ramirez streaking down the right side of the field towards the goal. Ramirez controlled the ball, blew by the defender and fired a shot to the left side of the goal right past the outstretched arms of the Faribault goalie to make it 2-0. The last ten minutes of the game the
Raiders were in defensive mode and kept the Falcons scoreless going on to win 2-0 to advance to the State Tournament next week.