In a lightening-delayed game, the New Life Academy Eagles defeated the Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs by a score of 3-1 at Bielenberg. The home squad played well but it was apparent that they went to work on tired legs. It was their second game in 17 hours having played the Highland Park Scots to a 2-2 draw in a two overtime game the prior evening.
The game began somewhat slowly with the Eagles maintaining the greater time of possession but, despite numerous quality scoring chances, could not generate a score. NLA seemed out of synch and could not get anything past the visitors’ keeper. Then lightening struck on the field. Charlie Tourek controlled a high ball and struck a perfect pass off an awkward bounce to a streaking Evan Atkinson who beat the Mustangs keeper low and left for a 1-0 lead at the 27 minute mark. Despite the greater time of possession, the Eagles defense gave up too many quality chances to the visitors. Keeper Zach Thor was required top make an excellent save at the 36 minute mark to keep the Mustangs off the board. The first half ended with the Eagles in front, 1-0.
NLA came out flying high to start the second half. Atkinson sent a cross from the the left wing to Tourek in the box who took the high ball on his chest and directed it to a wide open striker Mark Rygh. Rygh struck a powerful shot straight at the goalie who could not control it. He got his hands on it to initially stop the shot but then watched helplessly as it crawl up his arms, over his shoulder and into the back of the net. Just 5 minutes into the second half, the Eagles had doubled their advantage, 2-0.
The tired legs of the the home team then began to show. The Eagles’ defense yielded more quality scoring chances to the Mustangs than they had conceded to a much more skilled Highland Park squad the night before. At the 55 minute mark, Thor deflected a point blank shot high and Eric Finley saved a goal as he headed the deflection away from three closing Mustang players and out of bounds.
The Eagles responded with an excellent effort at the 55 minute mark. Tourek dribbled through four defenders streaking toward the Mustang goal. At the last second, he flicked a short ball to Atkinson in the box who one-timed the pass into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead. It was Atkinson’s second goal and Tourek’s third assist of the game.
Both teams brought in back up keepers at about the 70 minute mark. Despite several good saves by the Eagles’ Noah Burroughs, at the 73 minute mark, the Mustangs scored on a long shot which evaded Burroughs’ outstretched arm to puff the back of the net. At the 73 minute mark the score stood at 3-1. Stung by conceding the goal, the Eagles responded with several scoring chances and possession of the ball as the final whistle sounded.
The Eagles overcame the schedule and their opponents this week. After a tough 0-3 start (including two tough 1-0 losses), the Eagles are 3-1-1 in their last 5 games. This afternoon was not their best performance if the year but it was a dominating one on tired legs. Go Eagles!
Note: sports articles are written by Parent volunteers