NEW ULM - A little bit of confidence sure seems to go a long way. Just ask the New Ulm boy's soccer team.
New Ulm continued its fast start, winning its fifth straight game with a 1-0 South Central Conference win against Mankato Loyola (0-5-1) on Monday at the Martin Luther College Soccer Complex.
The Eagles (5-1, 3-1 SCC) are made up of mostly juniors this year, but they have a lot of varsity experience and it's beginning to show. Instead of having mistakes late in a close game that costs them like last year, the Eagles are finding ways to win those close games.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Noah Webb (13) tries to get past Mankato Loyola/Lake Crystal-Welcom-Memorial/St. Clair defender Quinn Seys (4) during the first half Monday at the Martin Luther College soccer complex in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Josh Koelpin assisted on Broderick Brown's 10th goal of the season. The goal came with about six minutes left and the Eagles fought off some frustrating missed chances to capitalize.
Koelpin, Brown and Daniel Wessel are the team's captains, and it helps that they've been leading by example all season long.
"It's nice when you've got three players who just want to play, want to give 100 percent," said Eagles coach Jack Gronholz. "You can do X's and O's, but you can't coach drive and want. When you have multiple kids that do that, it makes it fun as a coach and easy as a coach."
Last year, the Eagles finished the season 4-11 and were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. This time around, they're playing with more confidence. That was evident Monday as the Eagles dominated the ball, outshooting Loyola 21-1. New Ulm didn't allow a shot on goal in the second half.
"If something does happen bad, they don't get their heads down and say 'oh no,'" Gronholz said. "They know what type of team they are and they know what they need to do and shake it off."
The teams played a scoreless first half and the Eagles had several chances to score early in the second half, only to be denied by a bad pass or a big defensive play.
While it was tough to get the deciding goal, Gronholz was proud of the way his team hung in there.
"For me, yes, [it's frustrating after coming so close to scoring a goal], but they know they can play better," Gronholz said. "I chatted with them and I told them that they [Loyola] haven't won a game all year. We talked about focusing and it was a conference game, so there was a little pressure on them."
New Ulm plays at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at Marshall in a nonconference battle.