In a game you heard on US Country 99.9, Austin Packers boys’ soccer team, the No. 3 seed in the Section 1AA playoffs played host to sixth-seeded Red Wing in the section quarterfinals at Art Hass Stadium Tuesday night, and, just as they did in Austin in early September, the Packers blanked the Wingers by a score of 3-0.
Austin took control of the match from the start as they dominated time of possession and peppered Red Wing goalkeeper Greggory Stallard the entire first half, breaking through with a goal from sophomore midfielder Leo Hernandez from the penalty area in the 12th minute. Even though the Wingers enjoyed the wind advantage in the second half, the Packers continued to attack and tallied again in the 44th minute when senior forward Kalab Tadesse fired a shot straight away from 19 yards out that Stallard turned away with a brilliant leaping two-handed save that deflected the ball over the crossbar and out of play for an Austin corner kick. Junior defender Nicholas Asmus fed Tadesse with a short corner kick, and he then made his way down the left goal line and his crossing attempt caromed off a Winger defender and past Stallard at the back post for an own goal and a 2-0 Packers lead. Eighth-grade forward Taw Reh added another goal for Austin on a header from 8 yards out in front of the goal in the 71st minute for a 3-0 lead, and Austin senior goalkeeper Dane Mitchell was tested only twice in the match, both times in the second half, but he was able to turn away both Red Wing scoring chances from the penalty area to preserve the shutout.
With the win, their second in a row, the Packers are now 6-10-1 on the season, and Austin will travel to Bruce Smith Field in Faribault Friday night for a semi-final matchup with the Falcons, who defeated seventh-seeded Waseca 3-0 Tuesday evening. Kickoff will be at 5:00 p.m. Friday evening. The other 1AA semi-final Thursday night will pit top-seeded Winona against No. 4 seed and defending section champion Byron, as the Winhawks downed No. 8 seed Albert Lea 6-0 Tuesday evening, and the Bears edged No. 5 seed Kasson-Mantorville 4-3. Kickoff from Paul Gield Field in Winona for that game will be at 7:00 p.m. Thursday evening.
The winners from Thursday and Friday will play for the Section 1AA boys soccer title next Tuesday, October 18th at Art Hass Stadium at 5:00 p.m.