The Eagles traveled to Chaska on a beautiful fall afternoon to take on the Southwest Christian Stars on their home turf. The Eagles played the Trinity School Tri-Hawks to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday, having taken a 2-0 lead after the first half. The Eagles twice held the lead over the Stars but couldn’t maintain their advantage in the face of waves of rested Southwest players rotating on to the pitch. It was a spirited and well played game with neither team dictating the tenor of play and each having quality chances to score.
The Eagles only traveled with 14 players while the Stars dressed 20. The Stars rotated players frequently while New Life kept most of it’s starters in for virtually the entire game. The Eagles took the lead at the 33 rd minute mark of the first half when Mark Rygh one-timed a sharp centering pass from Nate Mueller which the Stars’ keeper had no chance to block. Five minutes later the Stars drew even when the New Life back line was penetrated for an easy goal. The half ended with the two teams knotted at 1-1.
Lightening struck in the second half when New Life shocked the Stars with a score just 30 seconds after the whistle blew. Evan Atkinson lofted a ball toward the far post and Cameron Kor sent a looping header over the Stars keeper to give the Eagles for a 2-1 lead. The Stars fresher legs then began to tell as the second half ground on. The Eagles were forced into a more defensive posture. In the 59 th minute, the Stars capitalized on a defensive breakdown and put the equalizer into the back of the net.
The momentum seemed to favor the fresher legs of the home squad but the senior leaders of the Eagles dug deep and time and again they staved off the Stars and generated quality scoring chances. The final whistle blew with the two teams dead even and the Eagles mounting a rush at the Stars end of the field. The two overtime periods were as well played as the the two full halves that preceded them with neither team clearly dictating play. The final score was 2-2.
The Eagles were tested and not found wanting. Kudos to Tri-captains Charlie Tourek, Zach Thor and Evan Atkinson as well as Nate Mueller who played virtually every minute and through injury in a gutsy display never-say-die. They displayed plenty of outstanding individual skill and effort. Also the back line of Eric Finley, AJ Malley, Jonny Lassen, and Malachi Thomas line never got a rest and fought off a fresher and physically much bigger Star squad. It will be another stern test tomorrow thanks to the schedule which has New Life hosting sectional opponents Hastings barely 17 hours after this extra time battle. Go Eagles!
Note: sports articles contributed by parent volunteers