Knights boys struggle to 0-3 start

Oscar Peraza brings the ball up the field for the Knights. (Photo by Jake Schroer)

Any team playing in the fall of 2020 has already needed to adapt to a lot of change, and the STMA boys’ soccer team is no exception. The team lost several key seniors from last year’s team and is in a rebuilding period.

The STMA boys have fallen in all three of their games so far in an 11-game season, but all three games have been competitive; a 1-0 loss to Hopkins, a 2-1 loss to Edina and the most recent result, a 3-2 loss to Eden Prairie.

“It’s really nice to see all these guys work together and build up from the previous game,” head coach Tomas Rodriguez said. “Each game it seems like we’re getting better.”

Rodriguez added that competing closely with the defending state champions (Edina) seemed to motivate the team to be better.

Against Eden Prairie, the Knights scored first with 18 minutes left in the first half on a play that left the Eden Prairie goalie on the ground, injured. The Eagles responded very late in the half to tie the game at 1-1.

In the second half, both teams had their chances to take the lead, but the Eagles took advantage of their opportunity and made it 2-1. With plenty of time left, the Knights pressed on, but the Eagles added to the lead.

True to form, the Knights never quit. Their persistence paid off with a late goal to make it a 3-2 game, but the Eagles held on defensively to win the game by that final score. Ben Lefebvre and Tyler Jordan tallied for the Knights in defeat.

After the contest, Rodriguez said that the team is learning, and added that they are thankful to be playing at all with the continuing uncertainty over COVID-19.

“We have to follow the rules, be safe, make sure we’re healthy, but as long as these boys are having smiles on their faces playing soccer, I’m happy.”

The Knights got another chance to win their first game on Tuesday against Buffalo as part of a doubleheader with the girls’ teams. They travel to Edina on Thursday night.

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