In a spirited Big 9 Conference boys’ soccer matchup Saturday afternoon at Art Hass Stadium between the Ausitn Packers and the Owatonna Huskies, the officials issued three yellow cards, one to the Huskies in the first half and two against the Packers in the second half, but Austin saw four-year starter Henry Tolbert score two huge insurance goals in the second half to help the Packers to a 4-1 win.
The Packers struck first in the 13th minute when Owatonna goalkeeper Nils Gantert couldn’t fully control a free kick from Austin’s Andres Garcia straight away from 27 yards out, and sophomore midfielder Poe Reh was there to head in the rebound to put the Packers up 1-0. Austin tallied an own goal in the 29th minute to make it 2-0 when Tu Reh sent a quick cross to Garcia from just left of the six. Garcia’s shot from in front of the goal was stopped by Gantert, but the rebound caromed off a Husky defender and into the net. Owatonna then halved the Austin lead in the 33rd minute when Fletcher Schultz was fouled in the penalty area, and his ensuing penalty kick beat Packer goalkeeper Casey Berg, the first goal Berg has given up this season so far to cut Austin’s lead to 2-1 at the half.
Tolbert then gave Austin some breathing room in the 43rd minute when his straight away blast from 20 yards out whistled by Gantert to make it 3-1 Packers. Tolbert then helped to ice the game for Austin in the 51st minute when his strike from the left side of the penalty area from 10 yards out beat Gantert inside the right post to increase the Packer lead to 4-1.
With the win, the Packers are now 4-0 and sit atop the conference with Northfield, who is also 4-0. Austin returns to action Tuesday night in Mankato versus the West Scarlets, with kickoff at 7 p.m.