New Life Academy’s varsity soccer team traveled to Elk River to face the Spectrum Sting following yesterday’s lightening sparked torrential downpours. The match conditions were less than ideal. The field was soggy and footing was treacherous. Passes often came to a sudden stop in the waterlogged turf. In certain respects the pitch offered more challenge to the Eagles than their opponents.
The Eagles took control right from the git go. Charlie Tourek blew past a number of Sting defenders and delivered a hard cross to Nate Mueller in the box who one-timed a hard shot that seemed destined for the back of the net. Somehow the shot hit the post, then the keeper and deflected right to Mark Rygh who deposited the ball into an open net. Three minutes into the game, the Eagles surged into the lead, 1-0.
Two minutes later, Evan Atkinson made it 2-0 with a shot from 10 yards beyond the 18 yard box that evaded the Sting keeper. Three minutes later, Tourek again blew past several defenders and unleashed a hard shot that looked to be a score until it hit the inside of the upper 90 post. The visitors weren’t deterred for long. 120 seconds following Tourek’s shot, Mueller poked a rebound from an Eagle shot into the back of the net. 10 minutes into the first half, New Life possessed a 3-0 advantage.
Following a nice save by Eagle keeper Zach Thor, Atkinson maneuvered past a Sting defender and struck a clean shot into the right side netting to put the visitors ahead by 4 at the 20 minute mark. About 11 minutes later, Rygh completed his hat trick with 2 goals spaced a minute apart. New Life closed out their scoring with just 2:31 remaining in the half when Tourek powered a low rocket past the keeper from outside the box. The whistle blew with the Eagles’ talons firmly holding a 7-0 lead.
The second half was largely a game of keep away. Coaches Rupp and Printy rearranged their line-up and clearly instructed the starters to work on passing and ball control rather than scoring. The visitors were clearly the superior team and nothing was to be gained by piling on the home squad. The Eagles played well on a poor field and rebounded from a tough loss against Hastings that was a closer game than the 3-1 score might suggest. They line-up Friday for their last regular season game against St. Croix Lutheran which was re-scheduled due to last night’s massive thunderstorms. Go Eagles!
Note: Sports articles contributed by Volunteer parents