Rough second half leads to loss

NEW ULM – Heading into the 2013 girls soccer season, the New Ulm Eagles had high hopes with a veteran squad returning off of a 13-4-1 season a year ago.

But injuries and a tough schedule haven’t been kind to the Eagles, and on Thursday they saw their record fall to 1-3 on the young season with a 4-1 loss to South Central Conference rival St. Peter (3-1).

New Ulm is without starting forward Peyton Lewis (knee) and now defensive player Megan Laraway, who injured her ankle Thursday and did not return. Despite the hard luck, the Eagles still aren’t down on themselves.

“Even with a 4-1 loss, it’s easy for me to stay positive because the girls played well,” Eagles coach Jonathan Johnson said. “Megan went down, and that’s totally unfortunate because she’s the boss of the defense back there and that hurt us big time.”

The Eagles scored the first goal of the game and took the 1-0 lead into halftime. But when it rains, it pours, and the Eagles were battling both the sun (goalkeeper Claire Boeder was looking into the sun in the second half) and the long-distance shots fired by the Saints that netted them three of their four goals. The tough second half seemed to wipe away all the positives of the first half.

“I thought we actually owned the first half, and I think we started running out of gas,” Johnson said.

Bridgette Brown scored New Ulm’s goal with 24:18 left in the first half off of an assist from Martha Balge. The Eagles dominated the time of possession in the first half and had several other chances to score but were unable to convert.

The second half saw the Saints firing from long distance and over the outstretched arms of Boeder.

“If you have players that have good foot skills, they can make that shot nine times out of 10, so it is more common than one thinks,” Johnson said. “I’m not making any excuses, there should’ve been somebody covering the shooter and there wasn’t. But I would’ve taken the shot too.”

New Ulm was outshot 18-12 in the game. Boeder finished with 12 saves.

New Ulm (1-3) returns to action at 2 p.m. Saturday for another SCC game at Fairmont.

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