For the first time since 2010, the Shakopee boys soccer team will play more than one playoff game.

The Shakopee Sabers earned its first section playoff victory since 2010 when they dominated Prior Lake 3-1 on Tuesday night at Vaughan Field. That was also the Sabers first home playoff game since 2006.

The last time Shakopee won a section playoff game came in 2010 when they defeated Chanhassen 1-0. The last time a boys soccer playoff game was played in Shakopee was in 2006 when the Sabers lost to Bloomington Kennedy 1-0.

"It feels great," head coach Jon Poppen said after the win.

The Lakers came out with a very strong defensive plan, where they would mark up Shakopee's leading scoring Zachary Sussee man-to-man an effort to keep him from the ball and off the scoreboard.

They accomplished that goal of neutralizing Sussee but other players on the team stepped up for the Sabers in the win.

One of those players that stepped up for the Sabers was Gautham Nair, who subbed in for Sussee with about three minutes left in the first half in a 0-0 game.

Nair came through for the Sabers when he put them up 1-0 with just seconds left in the first half when he corralled a 50-yard free kick from Jessie Juarez at the six-yard box and turned and fired the ball into the net.

Prior Lake tied it up at 1-1 in the 47th minute on a long free kick of its own when the ball sailed over the Sabers goalie's outstretched hands.

After that it was all Shakopee, as they picked up its pace of play and dominated possession and the scoreboard.

Tyler Grausnick put the Sabers up 2-1 on a great individual effort when he controlled the ball from about 30 yards out dribbled around a couple of Prior Lake defenders and fired a bullet passed the Lakers goalie in the 50th minute.

He wasn't done there as Grausnick made it 3-1 just three minutes later as he took a beautifual pass from Charles Theis in the box and buried the ball in the back of the net.

Shakopee continued to press forward and had numerous other chances to extend its lead but couldn't.

"They (Prior Lake) defend really well and sometimes against good teams it takes time to break them down," Poppen said. "That's the nature of our game. That's why its an 80 minute match because you have to have that time to break them down and against good teams it takes a while. Tyler had a phenomenal game. Hes a good player, simple as that. He's a good player."

Poppen also credit Nathan Pitterle and Broc Dollerschell for their efforts in the win.

"Our central guys, don't always get in the score line but they are really critical," Poppen said. "Nathan Pettrile and Broc Dollerschell are the ones that get us from side to side and find little pockets for us to get into."


Shakopee will try to make it two playoff wins in a row today when they host Minnetonka in the section semifinals at 4:30 p.m. at Vaughan Field.

If they should win that game, they would advance to the section championship on Tuesday against the winner of the other semifinal Edina and Eden Prairie on Tuesday.

Sports editor

Todd Abeln has been the Shakopee and Jordan sports editor for more than 10 years. He enjoys highlight big accomplishments and competitive games. Todd also enjoys golf, softball and watching his kids play baseball, soccer, hockey and basketball.


Recommended for you