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Denied again: West soccer team hopes for first win, doesn't get it

The Minnesota West men's soccer team is learning a lot this fall, but learning how to win is a hard task

Minnesota West's Ulises Barrera (33) battles  with a Dordt JV defender at a Monday evening men's soccer match in Worthington.
Minnesota West's Ulises Barrera (33) battles with a Dordt JV defender at a Monday evening men's soccer match in Worthington.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- The season is fast winding down for the Minnesota West Community and Technical College men’s soccer team, and though there are several good things that happened this fall, the Bluejays have yet to win a game.

Another chance fell by the wayside Monday night at Trojan Field in Worthington as the Dordt JV squad scored three second-half goals en route to a 4-0 victory over West. The Bluejays have played several tight games this season, but they are 0-12 with only next Monday’s Northwestern JV tournament yet to play.

“There’s been a lot of things that didn’t go our way,” said head coach Jordan Balster. “We can’t find a way to pull one out. But still being here and trying to make it work is a good lesson for (our players),” he said.

Minnesota West Blue Jays Vinurshn Suveendralingam (11) leaps up to intercept the ball to keep it in play during a Monday afternoon match with Dordt University Christian college JV soccer team.
Minnesota West Bluejay Vinurshn Suveendralingam (11) leaps to intercept the ball in a men's soccer match against Dordt JV on Monday.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

In its second year of existence, the Minnesota West team added more players to its roster in 2022, including 13 who played high school soccer at Worthington High School. The majority of this year’s players are freshmen, and those who return next fall will have a year of college soccer under their belts -- which is an education for any incoming freshman -- going for them.

But every year is a uniquely new experience, said Balster, and he said his biggest emphasis in the offseason will be working toward getting a full team back -- one that is deeper with enough depth to overcome injuries. The players’ ability to trust each other, to play together, is also important.

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Monday’s game with Dordt was scoreless until the 13:39 mark of the first half, when the defenders managed to get the ball past the Minnesota West defense and into the goal in a one-on-one showdown with Bluejay goalkeeper Angel Flores.

Flores made several big saves in the game. But he couldn’t make them all, and the Bluejays gave themselves fewer opportunities to score than they allowed their counterparts.

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At the 7-minute mark of the first half former WHS Trojan Ulises Barrera tried a long kick from the middle of the field that was well-struck. With 31:19 to go in the second half, the Jays had their best opportunity in the game when another former Trojan, Dalen Gonzalez, was fouled on the way to a golden scoring chance.

Thus, Gonzalez set up for a free kick directly in front of the Dordt JV goal about 15 yards away. But he missed high.

The Defenders -- who defeated Minnesota West by the same identical 4-0 score earlier this fall -- are a well-organized team, Balster said. They anticipate well. They know where to position themselves. And they’re capable of shutting teams down.

“I just thought we could have taken care of some of the opportunities we had,” said Balster.

Gonzalez’s shot could have tied the game at 1-1. After that, the Defenders began to pull away. Their second goal was scored at 20:14 of the second half when a player maneuvered the ball between two Jays defenders and scored on a hard shot into the upper left portion of the net. The next score came at 7:44 only 10 yards in front of the goal. The last one came in the final 39 seconds.

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Dordt JV 1 3 -- 4

Minnesota West 0 0 -- 0

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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