NEW ULM – It took a while longer than expected, but the New Ulm girls soccer team is finally on a roll.
On Thursday, the Eagles hosted South Central Conference rival Fairmont, a team that New Ulm lost to earlier in the season.
The Eagles got a goal at about the midway point in the first half. The defense stepped it up the rest of the way to secure the 1-0 win over the Cardinals.
After a slow start (New Ulm started the season 1-4), the Eagles have won four straight and are now 5-4 on the season.
The Eagles got a goal from Martha Balge on a header with about 26 minutes left in the first half. Balge didn’t have any other option than to put a play on the ball with her head, and it worked for her and the Eagles.
“Whenever we get a goal right away, it kind of calms us down,” senior defender Britta Palmer said.?”We just get frustrated, especially when they get a goal on us first.”
New Ulm coach Jonathan Johnson had nothing but good things to say about Balge’s athleticism, which helped her score the goal.
“Martha is a very intelligent player, she’s totally in tune with her body as far as conditioning,” Johnson said.?”She takes great pride in her conditioning and I just can’t say enough about her other than I’m going to miss her like crazy next year.”
After the tough start to the season that saw some key players battle injuries, the Eagles are taking off now with a nice mid-season winning streak.
“The past few games, we played kind of how we played last year,” Palmer said. “It brought those feelings back.”
New Ulm is now 2-3 in the SCC with conference games against Mankato Loyola, St. Peter and Waseca left on the schedule.
“I told them that this one means a lot, because for one it’s a conference match, and the games are always good between us and Fairmont,” Johnson said. “It was very important, and they all realized that.”
Claire Boeder had 10 saves for the Eagles.
New Ulm has six matches left before the playoffs begin. The Eagles hope to keep playing well and possibly get a home playoff game or two when the seedings come out.
“I think now we know how it is to play,” Palmer said. “We’re getting our passing down. We’re remembering how it was last season so it’s going to be a great season yet.
New Ulm (5-4) is at the Dover-Eyota Tournament on Saturday. The Eagles open with Dover-Eyota at 11 a.m.