Packers upset in a section shoot-out

No goals were scored until Austin and Winona went to a shoot-out in Thursday night's quarterfinals of the Class A, Section One boys soccer tournament.

Each team scored on its first four tries in the shoot-out. The seventh-seeded Winhawks then scored on the fifth shot and the Packers, the second seed and defending section champs, didn't in what turned out to be a 1-0 loss.

"It's a tough way to lose," Austin coach Jens Levisen said of the stunning section defeat for the defending champs. "We had a great season and I don't have the words to explain this loss."

Defense ruled on the field for the first 100 minutes of action. The visiting Winhawks didn't get a lot of shots against the Packers, but the game remained scoreless throughout the first half.

The visitors also frustrated the home team with its defensive strategy of simply kicking the ball down the field and out of the zone. This didn't really lead to any breakaways from the Winhawks, but it limited the number of scoring opportunities for the Packers.


When they did finally get off a shot, the Packers had to contend with Mark Blacklock, the 6-foot-6 goalie of the Winhawks. Blacklock was able to stop all of the Austin shots during the timed sessions.

Physical play was also part of the defensive scheme employed by the Winhawks. A defensive player from Winona was issued a yellow card with 3:28 left in the first half. The Packers got a late chance to make a rush at the net, but it was 0-0 at halftime.

In the second half, the Packers put on more pressure and tried to get the breakthrough goal. Neither team could muster any offense and the game went into a pair of 10-minute sessions in overtime.

This is when the Packers had their chances to put the game away. In the final 45 seconds of the first part of overtime, Dante Ortiz hit the side of the net with a shot.

Early in the second overtime stanza, the Packers had another close look at the net. Jake Hagen-Erickson worked his way into scoring position, but the shot went just wide.

"We had more fire in the second half and there were chances to get a goal," coach Levisen said. "We had a couple of good shots in overtime and they didn't go in. It's tough to know you're the better team, but sometimes you can lose like that."

All of the students in the Austin cheering section migrated to the north goal on the field for the shoot-out. Initially, the Winhawks scored and Hagen-Erickson answered for the Packers. Les Poling then scored for Winona and Ortiz fired back for Austin in a 2-2 tie.

More of the same followed with Jonathan Vitek and Pedro Herrera matching goals. Sam Elhindi hit the fourth shot for the Winhawks, then Erick Soto of the Packers froze Blacklock for the final deadlock.


Winona (8-7-2) got the decisive shot from Louis LaPorta. Zach Vierkandt took the last kick for Austin and Blacklock smothered it for the win.

"This is not the way we wanted things to go in the second round of the section," the coach concluded. "We knew it would be a tough game against Winona, but when you work hard to create scoring opportunities and it comes to the final kick in a shoot-out, the loss is tough to take."

Austin finished the season with an 11-6-2 overall record. Winona plays Kasson-Mantorville in the Section 1A semifinals.

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