NEW ULM - The New Ulm girls soccer team had just completed a dominating first half in which it had the ball in the Worthington zone almost the entire time, yet the Eagles didn't have a single goal to show for it.
But the first 12 minutes of the second half may have been the most dominant stretch for the Eagles all season. New Ulm scored four times in that 12-minute stretch, defeating Worthington 4-0 in nonconference girls soccer action at Martin Luther College.
The win improves New Ulm's record to 8-1-1. While the final score shows a convincing win, it wasn't always that easy for the Eagles, especially in the first 40 minutes.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Bridget Brown (20) takes a shot after getting between a pair of Worthington defenders during the second half of the Eagles’ win Tuesday at Martin Luther College in New Ulm. Brown scored on the play.
"It was almost as if we were playing at their level," New Ulm's Monica Illikman said. Illikman finished the game with two goals and assisted on another. "We knew we had to pick it up and work on our passing a little more."
New Ulm fired 21 shots at the Trojans. Shelby Smith made six stops for the Eagles, who host South Central Conference rival St. Peter at 5 p.m. Thursday.
In the first half, New Ulm saw shot after shot go either just wide or too high. It was just a matter of keeping up the intensity for the Eagles in the second half.
"I think we knew we would [score], we just had to be a little more patient," Illikman said. "We had to pass it around and get the right shots."
Soon, those shots were finding the back of the net. Illikman opened up the New Ulm scoring when she scored an unassisted goal at the 42-minute mark.
"It felt really good, it gave us the confidence we needed to come out really strong," Illikman said of the goal.
After that, it was easy to see that the confidence was in fact there. New Ulm went on a scoring spree, converting easy shots unlike it did in the first half to put the game out of reach.
Less than two full minutes after Illikman put the Eagles on the board, she assisted on Bridget Brown's goal to put the Eagles up 2-0.
Kylie Walterman made it 3-0 after she picked up a loose ball in front of the goal and put it in the back of the net. Walterman's goal was assisted by Brown. Later, Illikman scored again, this time on an assist from Walterman, and the Eagles cruised away with the 4-0 win.
While the offense was dominant, New Ulm's defense helped Smith preserve the shutout.
"It was really good," Illikman said. "Worthington had some pretty fast forwards and our defense did a really good job of keeping it out of that end."