Packers get past Cotter

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Austin's Riley Grinstead heads the ball back into Winona Cotters half of the field during their Section 1A tournament game Tuesday night Art Hass Stadium. -- Eric Johnson/

The No. 2 seeded Packers were hoping for a fast start, but they had to settle for a strong finish as they beat No. 15 seeded Winona Cotter 5-0 in the first round of the Section 1A boys soccer tournament in Art Hass Stadium Tuesday.

The Packers (14-3 overall) scored three second half goals to break open the contest and send Austin to the second round, where it will host No. 7 La Crescent Thursday at 7 p.m.

Austin's Jake Hagen Erickson heads the ball during the first half against Winona Cotter in the first round of the Section 1A tournament Tuesday night at Art Hass Stadium.

“We needed to come out a little faster than we did. We wanted to light them up,” said Austin Jake Hagen-Erickson, who scored three goals in the win. “They had all their guys back so that frustrated us a little bit. But we stayed positive and everybody was encouraging everybody to shoot.”

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Hagen-Erickson put Austin on the board on a shot that came off a pin-point pass from Francisco Torres in the fifth minute. From that point on Cotter’s keeper made some highlight saves that saw him diving, jumping and reaching all around the net.

“He got each of us on a couple of them,” Hagen-Erickson said. “Their keeper definitely played a good game.”

Hagen-Erickson scored in the 33rd minute and he added another goal on an assist by Roel Torres in the 57th minute. Austin senior Abinyan Lual put the icing on the win with two rocket-shot goals that he blasted in the corner of the net in the 72nd and 75th minutes.

Austin fired 31 shots in the second half after attempting 16 shots in the first half.

“We could see that they were playing everybody back on defense so we needed to create more opportunities,” Austin head coach Jens Levisen said. “The guys got more aggressive in the second half.”

The Packers are still getting over the fact that Owatonna scored a late goal on them to take the Big Nine title last week, but sophomore defender Riley Grinstead said it felt good to be back out on the field again.

“It got us motivated a little more and (Jake) got us going,” he said. “(The Owatonna loss) made us come back and want to show that we can do better.”

Austin didn’t play La Crescent (12-5 overall) this season and it’s possible the Lancers could take the same defensive approach as Cotter did.

“We focus on playing numbers down and trying to create opportunities,” Levisen said. “We know teams are going to suck guys back and try and hit it long because they can see the way we move the ball.”

Austin's Nick Brehmer challenges Winona Cotter's Kazu Tamaki during the first half of the Packers and Ramblers first-round Section 1A tournament matchup Tuesday night at Art Hass Stadium.

Austin keeper Collin Weisert had just one save in what was the eighth shutout win for the Packers this season.