AUSTIN EDITION - Packer girls get shutout
Austin records firstBig Nine soccer win
By Scott A. Kolb
Good passing and solid goaltending on Saturday produced the first Big Nine Conference win of the soccer season for the Austin girls.
Mankato West came to Wescott Field for a visit and Austin greeted them with a quick goal. Whitney Murray scored for the Packers just two minutes into the game. Murray's goal came on a long kick from the left hashmarks.
Austin got another goal in the second half and went on to win 2-0. The Packers improved to 1-6 in conference play and the West Scarlets dropped to 0-4 in the Big Nine.
"This win will help our confidence, it's something to build off of," Austin coach Mark Raymond said. "We started to move the ball around and that led to scoring opportunities. With the lead, the girls played a lot harder and our defense kept them off the scoreboard."
Getting scored upon in the opening minutes of the contest led to more bad karma for the West girls. The last two games have been hard on the Scarlets.
West led cross-town rival Mankato East 3-0 in the first half on Thursday night, when the game was called due to rain. It will be made up, but from the start and thus the Scarlets missed a chance for a conference win.
Whether it was the lingering effects of that missed opportunity or the long bus ride from Mankato, the visitors fell behind early and never got back in the game. The Austin girls seized their chance and took it with a hard-nosed brand of defense.
"We didn't start as strong as we normally do and Austin got that first goal," West coach Crissy Makela said. "Mistakes happen on defense, but when they got one right away it gave them the momentum."
Staked to the early lead, Austin goalie Kelly Momsen made sure it stood. Momsen had 13 saves for the Packers, including many one-on-one stops down the stretch in the second half.
"Kelly did a great job in getting the shutout," Raymond said of his netminder. "This was a big win."
The Packers were up 1-0 at halftime and they increased their lead 11 minutes into the second half. Megan Nace of Austin sliced into front of the net and put the ball past West goalie Joelle Pipal.
"I got a good crossing pass and was open on the top," Nace said of her second goal on the season.
"We communicated well in our passing game and it was a team effort to score those goals. We beat West to the ball and made things happen. We needed this win, it boosted our confidence."
In order to achieve their elusive first conference win, the Packers had to play with increased intensity. The physical nature of the game was manifested in many collisions on the field of play.
During the first half, Austin's Chelsey Neve was issued a red card on a fouling call. This wouldn't be the last physical confrontation between two teams desperately seeking a win.
Shortly after the goal by Nace, there was a collision involving Momsen and West forward Kaylie Erickson. The shot went wide as Momsen stood resolute in the net.
This crash may have had an effect on Erickson nearly 10 minutes later, when she had a clear shot at the Austin net and hit the crossbar.
Down the stretch, Momsen withstood a series of rushes by the West attackers. The Austin goalie recorded over 40 saves in three games last week.
Austin (2-6 overall) plays Mankato East on Tuesday night at Wescott Field.