AUSTIN -- The Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa boys soccer team made history on Thursday night.

In what has already been a season full of firsts in the forms of beating Lourdes and winning a Hiawatha Valley League title, the Wildcats added another chapter to their memorable journey.

Using goals from Seth Konik and Dan Mikaeo, along with some stellar play from their midfield and their back end, the Wildcats punched their first ever ticket to the state tournament as they knocked off Fairmont 2-0 in the Section 2A championship at Art Hass Stadium in the Austin Wescott Athletic Complex.

PIZM remains unbeaten, improving to 16-0-2, and now waits to find out where it'll be seeded for the quarterfinal round of the state tournament. It will be played some time between Oct. 26-28 in a to-be-determined location.

"We worked so hard during the season, in the offseason, it's just outstanding," coach Rafal Konik said. "Twenty-three years, we have never had a trophy, so this is very exciting."

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PIZM controlled possession from the opening kick and took an early lead after the Fairmont goalkeeper ran into his own defender after coming out hard on the edge of the box, allowing the ball to squirt out to Seth Konik. With a wide-open goal, all the freshman had to do was not miss the net. The youngest son of the coach came through, tucking the ball inside the right post for the 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.

Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Seth Konik (33) shoots the ball to score the teams first goal during a Section 2A boys soccer championship match against Fairmont Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Wescott Field in Austin. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Seth Konik (33) shoots the ball to score the teams first goal during a Section 2A boys soccer championship match against Fairmont Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Wescott Field in Austin. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin



"Looks like he will have some bragging rights for a while," Rafal Konik said with a laugh.

That lead held throughout the first half and into the second half thanks to PIZM's ability to control the midfield, specifically when it came to getting back on defense. Each time, it appeared Fairmont had a little bit of momentum into PIZM's half of the field, they came crashing down to help out a defense that was already solid throughout the night.

Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Zach Ihde (5) and Fairmont’s Jack Sandusky (9) battle for the ball during a Section 2A boys soccer championship match Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Wescott Field in Austin. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Zach Ihde (5) and Fairmont’s Jack Sandusky (9) battle for the ball during a Section 2A boys soccer championship match Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Wescott Field in Austin. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

"We talk about it in practice a lot, the mids need to be everywhere," defender Mark Quintero said. "It's tiring, that's why we do the conditioning at the beginning of the year."

The Wildcats did a great job on Fairmont standout Prince Lebbi, who is a true difference-maker with the ball at his feet. But every time he had it, at least two or three Wildcats were right there just as they drew it up in the practice.

"We were practicing for a good three days just having one of our non-starters wear a green jersey, and we would just communicate where's No. 10, he's on the right side, shifting to the left," Quintero said. "Just going through different scenarios. We jockeyed him, not wanting to give him a yard."

In the second half, Fairmont was pushing for the equalizer, but PIZM was never really threatened. In fact, the three saves keeper Jason Ryan finished with came in the first half.

The Wildcats were able to continually counter, but Fairmont keeper Berny Esquivel Rosales made a number of good saves to keep it a 1-0 game. Yet, it was only a matter of time until the Wildcats broke through, which they did with 90 seconds left after a nice pass found Mikaeo at the far post to ice it.

Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Dan Mikaeo (7) scores a goal during a Section 2A boys soccer championship match against Fairmont Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Wescott Field in Austin. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Dan Mikaeo (7) scores a goal during a Section 2A boys soccer championship match against Fairmont Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Wescott Field in Austin. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

"Relief, just relief," said Mikaeo, who had four shots on goal. "We knew we had it after that."

The Wildcats will now wait and see what's next. But for now, they are going to enjoy this win.

"I truly don't even have words to comprehend it," Quintero said. "Just an amazing feeling."

Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa 2, Fairmont 0

Fairmont 0-0—0

PIZM 1-1—2

Fairmont: Goalie: Berny Esquivel Rosales 7 saves.

PIZM: Seth Konik 1 goal, Dan Mikaeo 1 goal, Drew Christopherson 1 assist Goalie: Jason Ryan 3 saves.