MARSHALL - For 68 minutes, the Marshall boys soccer team held its own against New Ulm.
During a 12-minute span at the end of the first half, that was not the case.
The Tigers fell to the Eagles 4-1 in their home opener on Tuesday at the Schwan Regional Event Center at Southwest Minnesota State University.
Photo by Alex Oey
Marshall’s Sam Duran attempts to drive past New Ulm’s Alex Bumgartner during a non-conference soccer match Tuesday at The Schwan Regional Event Center in Marshall. Duran scored the Tigers’ only goal during a 4-1 loss to the Eagles.
"We knew they were going to be a strong team," said Marshall head coach Andrew Larson. "We came in and we played really well. We lost our cool for about a 5-minute stretch though."
Marshall (0-3-0) started strong, holding the New Ulm (6-1-0) attack at bay. Both teams had a handful of scoring chances early in the match, but neither team was able to break through.
"It was just a back-and-forth game," Larson said. "I think the difference in this game for us is we were really challenging our midfielders to hold their marks defensively and they did a great job."
As the clock ticked down into the final 12 minutes of the half, the Eagles got on the board first when Timothy Plocher took a shot across the net that caught the side net in the 28th minute.
Just 4 minutes later, New Ulm went up 2-0 when Sam Wiechman scored off of a corner kick restart, putting the Tigers in a hole.
"The biggest thing we talked about was to not get down on ourselves after they scored," said Larson. "We came back and it was great."
Marshall went back on the attack, playing the next several minutes in New Ulm's end. Bryce Johnson created an opportunity and put a shot on-goal that goalie Alexander King was unable to corral. Sam Duran was in the right place, re-directing the rebound to cut the Tigers' deficit to 2-1 with a goal in the 35th minute.
"I was outside the box and Bryce Johnson took a shot," said Duran. "The goalie couldn't handle it. He blocked it and I was there for the rebound."
The Marshall excitement was shortlived as Joshua Koelpin and Noah Webb scored less than 30 seconds apart in the 37th minute to give New Ulm a 4-1 lead, which it took into the half.
"We talked about keeping our heads in the game," Larson said. "We did great at getting that one goal back, but then we kind of lost it for that 5-minute stretch."
The second half was a mirror image of the beginning of the match. Both teams played strong defense to keep their opponents at bay while being unable to take advantage of their offensive opportunities.
With just minutes left in the match, the Tigers put several shots on-net, including some close-range attacks, but King held firm and both teams went scoreless in the second half as New Ulm recorded a 4-1 win.
"I was really happy with our second half performance," said Larson. "We just couldn't poke them in. There were some great saves by their goalie. Soccer is a game of just a few plays."
Marshall will be in action again on Thursday when the Tigers travel to Edgerton to face Southwest Minnesota Christian.
"We take a lot from this game," Larson said. "Hopefully, we can play them again and get the best of them next time."
New Ulm 4, Marshall 1
New Ulm4 0 - 4
Marshall1 0 - 1
NU - Timonthy Plocher, 28th minute.
NU - Sam Wiechman, 32nd minute.
M - Sam Duran, 35th minute.
NU - Joshua Koelpin, 37th minute.
NU - Noah Webb, 37th minute.