NEW ULM - The Marshall Tigers are playing improved soccer of late.
After losing its first four matches of 2013, MHS has gone 1-3-2 during its last six contests as it has been outscored just 10-9 in goals.
On Monday, the Tigers earned a 1-1 South Central Conference tie at New Ulm.
Photo by Jake Calhoun/Odgen Newspapers
Marshall’s Megan Vogl (13) and Sebastian Landry (4) defend New Ulm’s Josh Koelpin during a South Central Conference match at New Ulm on Monday.
Marshall (1-7-2 overall, 1-4-1 SCC), slowed down the offensive tempo for New Ulm (7-2-1, 4-2-1) by disrupting passes and getting in the way of shots.
"It was a back-and-forth game and neither team could really get anything going," Tigers head coach Andrew Larson said.
MHS was outscored 19-3 in its first four games this season. In recent matches, the Tigers have been working together better.
"Against the top teams in our section this last week, we have been playing great,"?Larson said, "This is the time we need to come together and we have been. I am excited for these next two weeks."
New Ulm coach Jack Gronholz was disappointed with the Eagles' effort.
"We came out flat and sluggish and you're going to have games like that throughout the season," Gronholz said. "This is the first game this year that we've done that."
Gronholz said his team exhibited a lot of exertion in its 3-2 overtime win against Fairmont Area last Thursday, so much that there might have been a bit of a hangover effect in Monday's match.
Senior co-captain Josh Koelpin was the subject of controversy late in the first half when he was given a yellow card for allegedly hooking his arm around Marshall's Bryce Johnson, the act of which shoved him to the ground.
Koelpin told Gronholz that he stumbled and ran into Johnson on the play, but the referee said it looked like Koelpin had pulled Johnson to the ground.
"Normally with a foul like that, they usually give you a warning," Gronholz said. "I asked him at halftime and I said, 'OK that was a foul, but you normally give warnings,' and he said, 'No, that was an aggregious foul.'"
The only scoring in the game came in the second half, first with an unassisted goal by Marshall's Edoardo D'Atierno in the 58th minute for a 1-0 lead.
New Ulm trailed for only 11 minutes until a corner pass from Broderick Brown connected with New Ulm freshman Michael Messenger, who netted it to tie the game at 1-1 in the 69th minute.
The Eagles came close to scoring in the first overtime when Koelpin booted two different shots that barely missed the net - the first of which was tipped off the bar and over the net by Marshall goalkeeper Jackson Luther.
Luther ended up with six saves.
New Ulm will have to win its final two conference games to win the SCC outright, which Brown said is not at all out of the question.
"That would be absolutely fantastic," Brown said. "I'm sure the whole entire team would agree with me."
New Ulm will play the first of those two conference games at 5 p.m. on Tuesday against St. Peter at home. Two non-conference matches separate that and its regular-season finale against rival Waseca on Oct. 3.
Marshall is back in action at Glencoe-Silver Lake at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.