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Soccer: New Life Academy works on consistency

Evan Atkinson moves the ball up the field during a Tuesday, Sept. 26 game against Trinity. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
New Life Academy defender Jonny Lassen (3) plays a header against Anthony Rumpza during a Tuesday, Sept. 26, game against Trinity. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The New Life Academy boys' soccer team has been one of the top teams in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association this season.

But head coach Robb Rupp knows that the team still has another level it can reach this season.

The Eagles tied with two MCAA opponents in a tough schedule last week. On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the Eagles took a 2-0 lead into halftime before tying Trinity 2-2. Three days later, New Life Academy tied Southwest Christian on the road 2-2.

Tuesday's game started well for the Eagles thanks to first-half goals by Evan Atkinson and Cameron Kor. But Trinity responded by putting the pressure on in the second half and scoring two goals to tie the game.

After two five-minute overtimes, the game ended in a tie.

Head coach Robb Rupp said the game was an example of something he has been trying to work on with the Eagles this season: consistency.

"I think it's just that momentum, that mentality of it," Rupp said after the tie against Trinity. "The wind, yeah, you are fighting that, so that kind of changes things. But we still had plenty of opportunities to put that game away."

Trinity is one of the Eagles' biggest rivals, and it showed with intense play in the conference game.

"I think this is my 13th season as the head coach, and probably 10 of those years it was just like this today, back and forth," Rupp said.

With the two ties, New Life Academy sits in fourth place with a MCAA record of 4-1-2. Southwest Christian and Trinity are tied for second place at 5-1-1, while St. Croix Prep is in first place at 8-0-0.

New Life Academy is scheduled to wrap up its season with a home game against St. Croix Lutheran on Monday, Oct. 2, and a road game against Spectrum on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

In those final two games and before the start of the section playoffs, Rupp hopes to see some improvement on the team's consistency.

"When you get opportunities, you've got to finish," Rupp said. "We had a couple of really good opportunities that we did not finish well. So we've got to keep working at that consistency when we get opportunities."

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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