Tigers tie Packers in OT
The sixth shutout of the season for the Albert Lea boys’ soccer team resulted in a tie.
Foster Otten led the Tigers with 16 saves in a 0-0 overtime tie against Austin Tuesday on Senior Night at Jim Gustafson Field.
“Once again our defense played awesome,” said Albert Lea coach Bob Furland, whose defense held 15 opponents to 17 total goals on the season. “All of our guys can drop back and play so well that we can play with anybody.”
Thirteen seniors on the Tigers’ roster played their last regular-season home game.
“I’m proud of every single one of my teammates,” said Albert Lea senior fullback Matt Tate. “As you can see, we fought that one hard, and we’ll fight hard in every game.”
The Tigers’ best chance to score was at the 27-minute mark in the first half. Albert Lea forward Nate Nelson shot the ball as Austin goalie Chris Kirchgatter simultaneously blocked it about 10 yards in front of the net. The ball kept rolling toward the empty goal but, it was about a foot wide right.
At the 22-minute mark in the second half, the Tigers threatened when Schafer Overgaard centered the ball to Colton Mowers, but Kirchgatter made a diving save.
Austin had chances to take the lead late in the second half, but fullbacks Tate and Chris Nelson blocked multiple shot attempts to keep the pressure off Otten.
Both teams looked to score in each five-minute half of overtime, but neither offense could break through.
The tie was the closest Albert Lea has come to beating Austin since Minnesota-Scores.net started keeping a record in 2008. Since that point, the the Tigers have a 0-12-1 record against the Packers.
When considering the ranking for both teams through Minnesota-Scores.net’s Quality Results Formula, the matchup was set up to be competitive. Out of 130 teams in Class A, Austin (7-4-4, 4-3-3 Big Nine) was No. 39 and Albert Lea (6-5-4, 4-3-3 Big Nine) was No. 41.
The Tigers have one more regular-season game left. Albert Lea will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at Winona (8-5-1, 3-5-1 Big Nine). The Winhawks are coming off a 5-1 loss Tuesday at Northfield (7-6-2, 5-3-2 Big Nine).
Seedings for the postseason can be determined through votes by section coaches or by the QRF polls. Furland said the QRF polls will be used this year for Section 2A.
The team with the best QRF in the section is No. 10 Mankato West, a team Albert Lea beat 4-1 on Sept. 29 behind a hat trick from Colton Mowers.
The Tigers’ QRF has them sixth in the 13-team section standings.
“Defensively, I’m feeling good (headed into the postseason),” Tate said. “We’ve just got to get everything together, get some offense and we’ll be set.”