• 27°

Tigers trounce Scarlets

Colton Mowers, left, of Albert Lea celebrates after scoring a goal Tuesday against Mankato West at Jim Gustafson Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Colton Mowers, left, of Albert Lea celebrates after scoring a goal Tuesday against Mankato West at Jim Gustafson Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

For the first time since 2008, the Albert Lea boys’ soccer team beat Mankato West.

Colton Mowers scored a hat trick and Alejandro Garcia had two assists to lead the Tigers past the Scarlets 4-1 Tuesday at Jim Gustafson Field.

“I think we’re moving forward,” said Albert Lea coach Bob Furland. “It was great to see that a lot of the stuff we practiced they were doing to help us win the game. It’s a great group of kids. They listen, and they work hard.”

With a No. 8 ranking in the Class A Quality Results Formula polls, the Scarlets will be the Tigers’ only regular-season opponent in the top 10. Out of the 13 teams in Section 2A, the squad with the next-highest QRF is Worthington at No. 23. Albert Lea’s QRF is No. 46, which is seventh in the section standings.

Mankato West (7-4-2, 4-2-2 Big Nine) was also ranked No. 3 in the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaching Association’s Class A preseason polls after tying for third with Chaska at the state tournament last season and posting a 19-2-1 record.

The Tigers (6-4-3, 4-2-2, Big Nine) weren’t fazed by the polls.

After Trey Burmeister gave the Scarlets a 1-0 lead with 21:50 left in the first half, Albert Lea responded with four unanswered goals.

Less than four minutes after Burmeister found the net, Mowers tied the game on a pass from Alejandro Garcia.

The Tigers took their first lead of the game with 1:10 left in the first half on a long pass by Schafer Overgaard down the middle of the field to Mowers, who scored.

At halftime, Albert Lea led 2-1.

The Scarlets attempted to knot the score again, but Tigers goalie Foster Otten thwarted all of Mankato West’s second-half attempts with the help of his defenders. On consecutive attacks by the Scarlets around the 10-minute mark, Porfirio Garcia blocked a shot on goal with his body and ousted the ball from the box with a header.

“Once again, our back four played great, our subs played great and Foster was outstanding in the goal,” Furland said.

Otten had 10 saves. Through 12 games, he’s only allowed more than one goal three times, and one of those games was a 3-2 overtime win over Rochester Century.

Mowers netted his third goal with 8:29 left in regulation on a pass from Tyler Doran.

“Their defenders and goalie weren’t communicating very well, so I took advantage of that and rushed in,” Mowers said. “Then ball was loose, so I just ran in and took a shot.”

In the last few games, Furland said Mowers played defense.

“Tonight we thought we’d put him up front and it worked out,” he said. “Colton had a great game.”

Albert Lea’s final goal was scored by Overgaard on a pass from Alejandro Garcia with 4:20 left.

Last year and the year before, the Scarlets edged the Tigers by the same score, 2-1. The closest Albert Lea came to beating Mankato West after a 3-0 victory in 2008 was with a 0-0 tie in 2010.

Next, the Tigers will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at Owatonna (7-2-2, 5-1-1 Big Nine). The Huskies are No. 13 in the Class AA QRF polls and have won four straight games after a 3-2 loss at Mankato West and a 2-1 loss at Lakeville South.