Packers advance to Section 1A semifinals: VIDEO

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, October 9, 2008

A strong second half burst catapulted the Austin boys soccer team to a 3-2 victory over Faribault Thursday at Art Hass Stadium.

The third-seeded Packers (11-6-2 overall) will take on No. 2 Northfield (11-5-3 overall) at Rochester Regional Stadium Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

After playing to a 1-1 tie in the first half, Austin scored two goals in the first eight minutes of the second half to take a commanding 3-1 lead with 32 minutes left in the game.

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Martin Manocchio gave Austin the lead when he went the length of the field to score on a breakaway just three minutes into the second frame.

“He was giving me space so I figured I’d just take it up there,” Manocchio said. “I scored quite a few like that this summer.”

Henry Darling also scored on a break away five minutes after Manocchio’s score. Darling took a deep pass from Manocchio, controlled the ball and released his shot from 20-yards out — just before the Falcons’ keeper Andrew Benson got to him.

“I was concentrating on keeping control of the ball, because a lot of times you’ll touch it too hard and it’ll go to the goalie,” Darling said. “Then I kind of saw him coming up since he was wearing yellow and I tried to get it over him and into the net.”

Those two goals were a big boost for Austin as Faribault outplayed the Packers for a stretch in the first half.

“We talked about it at halftime and said ‘you guys know how to play the game and you know what to do. Let’s get two (goals) in the first 10’ and we did that,” Austin head coach Jens Levisen said. “That was momentum for us and it kept things going.”

Faribault (7-6-3 overall) scored one more time when Alex Roberts knocked in a header with just under 10 minutes left in the contest. The Falcons had a chance to tie the match when Roberts missed wide left on a shot.

“I told the guys now is not the time to get comfortable,” Levisen said. “You’ve gotta play the whole game.”

The Packers controlled the ball for the last five minutes to get the win.

The sixth-seeded Falcons opened the scoring when Mitchell Beaupre knocked in a header off a sideline pass from Jon Palmer in the 20th minute. Austin responded four minutes later when Alex Klock knocked in a 20-yard pass from eighth grader Francisco Torres on a header. Klock deflected the ball just inside the post as he was flying away from the goal.

“I was trying to go far post,” Klock said. “Normally on those balls when you’re running away from the post and trying to put them back, it’s tough. I don’t think any other day I would normally do that, but it was a big game, you gotta do big things. Fransisco made a great pass.”

Klock said the win meant a lot to an Austin team that had to settle for a 3-3 tie when they played the Falcons in the regular season.

“It’s huge because last time we played Faribault our moral was really down and their were some conflicts,” he said. “It was nice to come against them and build each other up and really just put it over them. It’s a big boost in the tournament and also a big boost as a team.”

Austin scored its three goals on 13 shots, but they were much better shots than the team had in a 1-0 win over Red Wing Tuesday.

“Faribault is a lot better team than Red Wing,” Henry Darling said. “It’s just that Red Wing stacked their defense back so we didn’t get nearly as many chances as we did today.”

Austin played the match without senior captain Drew Halvin, a midfielder who broke his shin against Red Wing and is done for the season.

“Luckily we have a number of players and we’re pretty deep. Having his voice out there in addition to his skills, he’s a leader in both respects,” Levisen said. “I think they were affected, but they knew he’s hurt. We gotta bring him up and the team up.”

Ryan Rasell had five saves for Austin.

Austin was eliminated by Northfield in the second round of the playoffs when they lost 2-0.

The Packers haven’t been to the Section 1A quarterfinals since 2005.