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Eagles look to improve

August 20, 2012
Karla Deutschmann - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Journal

NEW ULM - The New Ulm boys soccer team didn't have the greatest season last year with a 3-13 record.

The Eagles hope to step it up a notch this season with a young team. The Eagles are looking for a .500 season and not looking so much into the postseason.

Although New Ulm would like to make it into the second round of playoffs, they would rather concentrate on improving the young team, not thriving on mistakes and adjusting to new players on the field.

"We would really like to win conference and be a strong team," senior Ryan Plath said. "We would like to see the team get a home playoff game this year, too."

Head Coach Jack Gronholz is in his sixth year of coaching the team. Gronholz worked his team really hard in the first year of coaching, and then toned it down to being a laid back but strict coach. He said he is a player's coach, meaning if he gets respect then you'll get respect back.

"I used to be a hard guy working my players to the fullest, now I want the team to have fun but at the same time give all their effort into the practices and games," Gronholz said. "Sometimes there are plays that a ref will call out that coaches and players don't agree with, and that used to be me a lot. I am working on keeping my composure when we are winning or losing, because everybody can make mistakes. It's just part of the game."

This season, the Eagles believe they will be facing some pretty tough competition, but they know that they can beat their opponents if they put everything into the game and give 100 percent of their effort.

"We can't be satisfied with where we stand," Plath said. "That means even if we are winning or losing."

The Eagles lost 10 games last season by one goal and lost five seniors from a year ago.

"We lost a lot of close games last season," sophomore Josh Koelpin said. "But if we are on top of our results we want and we have the continuity with our players, we can be on the top of our conference."

The Eagles would like to improve in the wins department from last season, and they want to stay positive through the whole season and learn from their mistakes.

"I would like to see improvement from the team from the beginning of the game to the end," Koelpin said. "Results don't matter if you're giving it your all."

Gronholz has not decided on the roster at this time. One of the team captains will be Plath, playing at center or mid-forward.

Plath is looking into playing college soccer because he would like to continue playing the sport and improving.

Koelpin will play midfield. He does a lot of running to prepare himself for the soccer season and plays soccer during the winter and summer months.

Koelpin believes he would like to continue playing soccer into college and to improve more, but he hasn't given it a lot of thought quite yet. This season, Koelpin is looking for midfield control and to control his pace.

The Eagles open the season Friday when they host a three-team tournament against Glencoe-Silver Lake and Southwest Minnesota Christian. They play GSL at 1 p.m. and SMC at 5 p.m. at Martin Luther College.



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