Rested up Packers eliminate Saint Charles

Published 3:31 pm Saturday, October 12, 2019

Austin head coach Jens Levisen has grown wiser in his years as Austin head coach. In short, he’s learned that a little rest isn’t a bad thing.

Levisen gave his team one day off and one short practice in the week leading up to Austin’s commanding 11-0 win over No. 8 seeded St. Charles in a Section 1A Tournament Quarterfinal in a snow-filled Art Hass Stadium Saturday.

The Packers hadn’t played a game since their 1-0 loss at No. 1 Holy Angels a week ago, but they didn’t show any rust as they scored three goals in the first 13 minutes.

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“In my early years, I would’ve pushed to get a practice in every day, but sometimes guys just need to rest,” Austin head coach Jens Levisen said. “We moved the ball today and kept after it.”

Austin’s Igor Blinklow contends with Hunter Jackley of Saint Charles in Art Hass Stadium Saturday. Rocky Hulne/

Seven different players scored in the win for the Packers (12-2-2 overall) and Henry Tolbert scored his third goal of the game to make it 6-0 with 32:53 left in the contest. Julio Hernandez and Poe Reh each had two goals for Austin, while Gadisa Birhanu, Gree Ha, Keaton Goets and Andres Garcia all had one goal.

The Saints (10-7-1 overall) hadn’t allowed more than five goals in a game all season long before Saturday’s contest, but the Packers attacked throughout the day as they peppered St. Charles keeper Caleb Barr with 41 shots on goal. Barr made plenty of tough saves, but Austin’s onslaught was too strong.

Austin senior captain Dylan Hanegraaf wasn’t planning to soccer in the snow for the first time in his life on his birthday, but he embraced the weather and the game.

“We used it as motivation. It made us feel like we were playing in England or something like that. We didn’t mind playing in the snow, even though it was cold,” Hanegraaf said. “We really work well together and our chemistry together is really high. This was a fun game for everybody. Everyone got in and everyone played well.”

Casey Berg had one save for Asutin and Hector Hernandez had three saves.

The Packers will host either No. 4 Byron or No. 5 Dover-Eyota in the Section 1A Semifinals at Art Hass Stadium at 7 p.m. Tuesday. No matter who they’ll be playing, the Packers, who have taken third in the last two Minnesota Class A State Tournaments, are ready for a tough game.

“We want to reach our goal to get to state again and we would like to win state this year,” Tolbert said. “It will be a big game on Tuesday.”

Andres Garcia of Austin his own shot head towards the net against St. Charles in Art Hass Stadium Saturday. Rocky Hulne/