Conditioning, passing set Eagles back in loss

NEW ULM – The heat index might as well have been wearing a jersey at Tuesday’s girl’s soccer game between New Ulm and Mankato West.

That is, if jerseys could sport numbers in the 100s.

The heat index reached well above 105 degrees when the Eagles took the field Tuesday. By the time the sun had gone down in the waning moments of the game, the Eagles were too worn down, allowing the Scarlets to score three unanswered goals in what resulted in a 5-0 loss.

“I think the heat started to get to us,” said senior midfielder Nicole Moldstad. “Sometimes it’s hard to get yourself back up after goals are scored on you.”

At the beginning of the game, the Eagles played aggressive defense. Senior Sarah Petersen and junior Hannah Paustian were in the Scarlets’ face constantly, disrupting their tempo and forcing them to take ill-advised shots in the early minutes.

The Scarlets scored their first goal in the 30th minute of the first half on a penalty kick. Their second came in the 34th minute off the foot of Aisha Abdo to give them a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.

“The girls did not give up,” said NU coach Jonathan Johnson. “They played to the best of their ability, so I commend them for that.”

Moldstad said it took a lot of mental preparation to play in the intense heat, but the conditions finally caught up to them in the second half.

“The way I look at it, the other team plays in the same heat that we do,” Johnson said. “So I can’t justify that as an excuse. It comes down to conditioning and that’s what we need to work on.”

New Ulm’s inconsistent passing stunted its offensive production, causing balls to sail out of bounds or outside the goal instead of staying in play.

“When you can’t connect your passes, you can’t get good shots on goal,” Moldstad said. “Since they had a lot of shots, we were on defense a lot so it was hard to push up the field to get more offense and string everything together.”

New Ulm is now 0-2 on the season and will play New Prague at home on Thursday. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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