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Girls Soccer: Eagles look ahead to the playoffs

New Life Academy midfielder Sophia Sosa (8) tries to take a ball from St. Paul Academy's Libby Woodson during Tuesday's game at the Bielenberg Sports Center. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)1 / 2
Forward Kayla Binsfeld looks for a teammate to move the ball to during Tuesday's game against St. Paul Academy. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 2

The New Life Academy girls soccer team looked ahead to the final two games of the season and the section playoffs after Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to St. Paul Academy on Tuesday.

With the wind at their backs, the Spartans scored all of their goals in the first half of the game. Lauren Hansen led St. Paul Academy by scoring two of the four first-half goals.

But the Eagles regrouped to keep the second half scoreless. Head coach Sam Mann said the Eagles played with a more organized defense in the second half to slow the St. Paul Academy offense.

“We made adjustments defensively, and that helped us a lot,” Mann said. “The first half we were all over the place, and the second half we settled down and we adapted to how they were playing and set up defensively. It was good.”

The Spartans came into the game with only two losses on the season. St. Paul Academy was the state’s fourth-ranked Class 1A team heading into the week, according to the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaching Association polls.

Mann said the Spartans were probably the best team they had faced this year as far as passing and playing at a high tempo.

New Life Academy has two games left on the regular-season schedule before the section tournament begins. The Eagles play at Heritage Christian on Thursday before wrapping up the season against PACT at home Friday.

Those two games will be substantial as New Life Academy tries to wrap up a first-round home game in the Section 3A tournament. Heading into the section tournament, Mann said the Eagles will focus on matching the tempo of tough opponents they might see in the section tournament.

“We’re going to use this second half as an example of just playing hard,” Mann said.

Tuesday’s loss dropped New Life Academy to a season record of 6-5-3. The season record includes a 3-2-2 mark in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association.

The Section 3A tournament is scheduled to start on Oct. 13 after the play-in games on Oct. 10.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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