The Austin Packers boys soccer team closed out the 2022 regular season at Art Hass Stadium Thursday evening versus Big 9 Conference foe Mankato West, and on Parent’s Night, goals from JuJu Thawng and Kalab Tadesse lifted the Packers past the Scarlets for an eighth straight time 2-1.
Thawng put Austin in the lead 1-0 in the 8th minute when Tadesse had his shot from the left side of the penalty area stopped by West goalkeeper Erick Smook, but Thawng put the rebound into the back of the net from the six-yard box to give Austin the lead. Tadesse made the score 2-0 Packers only :31 into the second half when he took a pass from Thawng in the penalty area and fired a shot past Smook to finish off a 2 on 1 break to give Austin an insurance goal. The Scarlets then seized the momentum of the match for a time in the 53rd minute when Samuel Gersich headed in a corner kick from senior defender Owen Essay to make the score 2-1, but the Packers were able to weather the storm and held on the rest of the way for the win.
With the victory, Austin finishes the regular season with a record of 3-7-1 in the Big 9 Conference and 5-10-1 overall on the season, and the win also went a long way to cement a home game for the Packers in the quarterfinals of the Section 1AA boys’ soccer tournament, which gets underway next Tuesday against an opponent yet to be determined.