Crown controls, defeats MLC women | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau
Martin Luther College midfielder Tabitha Gregorius works to keep the ball away from a Crown College player during an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference women’s soccer game Wednesday afternoon at the MLC pitch in New Ulm.

NEW ULM — An overall lack of aggressiveness spelled trouble for Martin Luther College Wednesday as Crown College picked up a 3-1 win in an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference women’s soccer game.

The Knights (4-6-1, 2-4-0), who started things off down 1-0 after a goal by Polars (5-4-2, 3-2-2) midfielder Abigail Shull in the third minute of play, had to battle to get the ball across midfield and into attacking range for most of the first half.

That lack of offense unfortunately carried on throughout most of the game for the Knights, something MLC head coach Jeff Schone attributed to a lack of aggressiveness and an overall off performance.

“It was a few things,” Schone said. “One, we didn’t seem to have the aggressiveness that we needed in order to stifle that kind of ball control. And added to that, we were just off today in our own foot skills. Our trapping was not good, our passing was inaccurate. And I don’t know anything else to say — the attitude of aggressiveness in a fair way and also turning that aggressive play into smart play.”

The Knights had a shot to tie the game less than 20 minutes before halftime after Hannah Schroeder passed to Madeline Walz on the run. Walz’s shot was blocked by Crown goalie Ellie Taylor, however, leaving the Knights scoreless. MLC had another shot minutes later to score and were able to convert that time after a cross from Nicole Porter found Lydia Krenke, who scored inside the goal area to tie the game in the 31st minute.

The Polars got back on offense in a hurry and took a 2-1 lead into the half after Ashley Pierce found the back of the net in the 34th minute.

Crown added an insurance goal off the foot of Ellie Schanbacher with 11:55 left to play, leaving the Knights scrambling to get some offense going late.

Krenke gave the Knights two late chances to score in the final six minutes but came up without a goal.

Krenke’s first charge to the net saw her getting bumped by a defender in the penalty box before hitting the grass. While there were some pleas for a penalty kick, no foul was called and play resumed. Her second run to the net was met by a sliding Taylor before a shot was registered.

Knights goalie Grace Sievert had nine saves, while Taylor had five for Crown.

Crown outshot MLC 17-10 overall and 13-6 in shots on goal. Crown took seven corner kicks to MLC’s four.

“We’ve had injuries on the defensive front,” Schone said. “One of our All-Conference players tore her ACL right at the beginning of the season, so that puts a little more challenge into our defensive play. I will also say that I thought that we played OK on defense, but not sterling. We let them control the possession in the middle of the goal, in front of the goal way too often. We played well on the outside, I thought, but we had some difficulties in the middle.”

The Knights host Minnesota Morris (2-7-2, 2-3-2) for a homecoming game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Schone said he expects better things from his team Saturday and believes they have a shot to take down Morris.

“When you look at the stats for the conference, Morris has normally been right up there,” Schone said. “But they are up and down this year. They lost to this same Crown team. They won some big games but then they surprisingly lost some games that you wouldn’t have thought. So I think we have a fair shot at Morris and I think we will match up very well with them. And I’m expecting a little better performance on Saturday.”

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