One step closer: Packer boys get past Byron, will host Lourdes in Section 1A title game Thursday

Published 9:45 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The No. 1 seeded Austin boys soccer team was able to find its urgency at the right moment as it beat No. 5 Byron in the Section 1A semifinals in Art Hass Stadium Tuesday.

The Bears (10-6-1 overall) pulled to within 2-1 when Ryan Johnson scored with 18:57 left in the game, but the Packers had big answer. Dylan Hannegraaf connected on a penalty kick to put Austin (15-2 overall) up 3-1 with 17:49 left in the game and Mooday Wah iced the game with a goal with three minutes left.

Austin’s Kevin Ortiz carries the ball early in the first half Tuesday night during the Section 1A semifinals at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/

Austin had beaten Byron 6-0 in the regular season, but the Packers struggled to stay in rhythm for stretches during Tuesday’s win.

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“I think that was an eye opener right there,” Hanegraaf said of the second half goal scored by Bryon. “We beat these guys early in the season pretty bad and our focus in the beginning of the game just wasn’t there and our passes weren’t always there. I think we woke up in the second half. Mooday had tons of chances and he finished one at the end.”

Austin’s Juan Vera skips past Byron goalie Carter Johnson on the way to open up the game’s scoring in the first half of a Section 1A semifinal game Tuesday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/

Austin took an early 1-0 lead when Andres Garcia scored on an assist from Kevin Ortiz 10 minutes into the game and Juan Vera made it a 2-0 Austin lead when he scored with 16:30 left in the first half.

The Packers out-shot Byron 23-5, but Austin wasn’t able to pull away until late.

Austin’s Elton Tolbert steps in front of Byron’s Adam Krakora during the second half of the team’s Section 1A semifinal showdown Tuesday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/

“We’ve got to finish and if you want to go through, you’ve got to play a complete game,” Austin head coach Jens Levisen said. “You’re not going to be able to play a half and then squeak by. The guys are already.”

The Packers will now host No. 2 seeded Rochester Lourdes in the Section 1A title game in Art Hass Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday. Lourdes (10-7 overall) beat Austin 3-2 on Sept. 8 and the Packers are hoping to flip the script this time around as they purse their second straight trip to the Minnesota Class A State Boys Soccer Tournament.

Vera said the Packers are focused and ready for the showdown with the Eagles, who beat La Crescent 1-0 to get to the Section 1A title game.

“We both have very good teams and this game will come down to whoever wants it more,” Vera said. “They’re going to come hard and we’re going to come hard. We’re ready.”

Austin’s Henry Tolbert races ahead with the ball during the first half Tuesday night against Byron in the Section 1A semifinals at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/