Austin could challenge Lourdes for section soccer title
Rochester Lourdes is the team to beat in Section One, Class A boys soccer.
Lourdes is 14-2 and ranked fourth in the last Class A state poll. Their losses were to Northfield (a Class AA team) and to Benilde-St. Margaret's, at the time ranked No. 1 in the state Class A poll (currently No. 2).
Austin is the No. 2 seed with a 9-3-3 record. Lourdes beat Austin 4-0 on Sept. 24.
Here is a look at the top- seeded teams in the Section 1A tournament:
No. 1 LOURDES (14-2-0)has been dynamite almost all season and comes in having won its last nine games. In that mix was an impressive 3-0 win over No. 6 ranked Holy Angels. The Eagles are ranked fourth. Their last loss was 2-0 to Northfield on Sept. 19. Their only other setback was actually impressive, with them barely falling to No. 2 ranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s 2-1 on Sept. 10. Lourdes averages 3.6 goals per game and gives up .5. Goalie Will Elder has 10 shutouts and has saved 53 shots, while giving up just seven goals. Lourdes’ offense, which is backed by a great defense, is led by junior Jack Convery with 14 goals and 13 assists. Alan Schembri-Wismayer has six goals and 10 assists and Gabe Salerno has 12 goals and zero assists. Midfielder Brian Williamson is one of the better players in the state and has scored 11 points. Lourdes is the section’s defending champion.
No. 2 AUSTIN (9-3-3)is also hot entering the postseason, with six straight wins. Its only loss in its last eight contests was 4-0 to No. 4 ranked Lourdes. The Packers have also fallen to Mankato West (2-0) and Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa (4-3). They tied formidable Mayo 0-0 on Sept. 8 and beat a tough Winona team 2-0 on Sept. 29. The Packers landed second in the Big Nine Conference, behind Mayo. They score 3.2 goals per game and allow 1.4. Top scorer is junior Jake Hagen-Erickson with 27 points. He has a spectacular 21 goals as well as six assists. Francisco Torres has 10 goals and 11 assists.
No. 3 LA CRESCENT (12-3-0)was brought down to earth to end its regular season, finishing with a 3-0 loss to Lourdes, then a 2-1 loss to Kasson-Mantorville. One of the Lancers’ most impressive wins was 7-3 over formidable Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa. La Crescent finished third in the Hiawatha Valley League, with a 5-2-0 mark. It scores 4.4 goals per game and gives up 1.3. Top scorers are senior Brandon Guzman (11 goals, 15 assists) and Max Schoonover (17 goals, nine assists).
No. 4 WINONA (10-5-1)was one of the top teams in the Big Nine Conference, all season, and finished 6-3-0 in the league. The Winhawks score two goals per game and give up 1.1. Winona stumbled to end its regular season, losing three of its last four games. The losses were to good teams, however, 2-0 to Austin, 1-0 to Mankato West and 3-1 to Mayo.
No. 5 KASSON-MANTORVILLE (14-2-0)was second to No. 4 ranked Lourdes in the Hiawatha Valley League, with a 14-2-0 league mark. The KoMets average 3.6 goals and permit .5. K-M ended the regular season on a roll, winning or tying 11 of its last 13 games. That was after getting off to a 1-2 start. K-M fell to Lourdes 3-0 and to Winona 2-1. It also lost games to Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Byron. The KoMets finished with an impressive 2-1 win over La Crescent. K-M is led by senior Jason Buechler with 10 goals and seven assists. Craig Peterson has scored six goals and ha six assists.
No. 6 Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa (10-4-2)has had its best season ever. PIZM was 3-3-1 in the HVL, and averaged a robust 4.2 goals and gave up 1.4. The Panthers are led offensively by one of the top players in the state, foreign-exchange student Fredi Bormann. He’s scored 24 goals and added 11 assists. Ben Coady has 11 goals and five assists, and Moritz Kitzweger has 13 goals and two assists. PIZM’s most impressive win of the season game against Austin, which it beat 4-3. The Panthers fell 5-1 to No. 4 ranked Lourdes.
— Pat Ruff