Lincoln bests Newberg 2-0 in tight battle
The Cardinals score two first-half goals and withstand a strong second half push from the Tigers to hand the NHS boys soccer team its first loss of the 2013 campaign
After beating an extremely overmatched Jefferson team 14-0 Sept. 17, Newberg had its work cut out for it against 2012 6A state runner-up Lincoln two days later at Loran Douglas field.
Perhaps set up for a rough start based on the lack of competition in the previous game, the Tigers dug themselves a 2-0 hole by halftime.
Newberg took the fight to the Cardinals in the second half, but did not cash in on its scoring opportunities and suffered its first loss of the young season.
I think this will be a huge lesson, head coach M.J. Tate said. I think this will set us up for the rest of the season.
Lincoln got on the board off a corner kick, helped by a defensive lapse that left an attacker open to fire the shot at the back post.
The action went from end to end in the first half and Newberg would have felt OK heading into the break down just one goal, but the Cardinals doubled their lead just a minute before halftime by slamming home a loose ball in the Tigers penalty area.
We just couldnt clear our lines, Tate said. The ball was bounding around, no one cleared it and the guy stuck it in.
In order to get back in the game, Newberg employed a more aggressive strategy in the second half, putting extra pressure on Trent Muller to handle a larger share of the defensive responsibilities, which he did with aplomb.
Muller was amazing, Tate said. We had to go with one holding midfielder and he became a young man (Thursday). He was enthusiastic and physical against much bigger men. I thought he was wonderful.
The Tigers thought they had gotten on the board after awkwardly heading home a corner kick, but the referee waived the goal off for a foul in the box.
Sophomore forward Getaneh Kudna also appeared to be taken down in the box after shielding the ball from a defender and turning to goal, but again the referee did not rule in Newbergs favor.
It was close to a perfect second half other than putting the ball in the back of the net, Tate said. We got after them and I dont think they really had much in the second half. We put a lot of pressure on them.
The Tigers faced another tough test Tuesday at Grant (results unavailable at press time) and will wrap up the non-conference portion of its schedule versus Wilson at 7 p.m. Thursday at Loran Douglas Field.