By Dave Wagner
If nothing else, the first-year Eastern New Mexico University men’s soccer team is showing it can compete with the best in the new Southwest Soccer Conference.
The Greyhounds hung tough on Sunday against 10th-ranked Midwestern State, but couldn’t find the scoring opportunity they needed in a 1-0 loss to the Indians at the ENMU soccer field.
Junior forward Jimmy Krueger converted the game’s only goal from about 12 yards out in the 50th minute, and MSU (5-1, 4-1 SSC) was able to thrwart ENMU’s efforts at a tying tally the rest of the way.
Senior forward Elliott Gallagher assisted on Krueger’s goal for the Indians, who were coming off a 3-2 loss on Friday at West Texas A&M.
“They’ve got a good team,” MSU coach Doug Elder said of the Hounds. “For putting a team together at the last minute, they play really hard.”
ENMU (3-4-1, 1-3), which won its home opener over St. Edward’s 2-0 on Friday, hasn’t really been overmatched against the more established SSC programs despite a roster that is nearly three-fourths freshmen.
The Hounds managed only three shots on goal in the match, and weren’t able to get the ball in scoring position down the stretch.
“We had a few opportunities,” ENMU assistant coach Carlos Elizondo said. “I think as we play more with one another, knowing where your teammate will be before you actually get the ball is going to come a little more naturally.”
Elder said that after finally breaking through, MSU hoped to add another goal to be able to relax a little.
“We wanted to push forward and try to get another one,” he said. “But hats off to them — they played well today.”
The Hounds are back on the road for the next three weekends before concluding the regular season with a five-match homestand in late October. ENMU plays at Northeastern State on Friday and at Missouri Southern on Saturday, both set for noon (MDT) starts.
“Anything can happen,” Elizondo said. “There’s a lot of possibilities. I think our boys feel they can compete with anybody.
“If we can play well the rest of the way, I think thinks will turn out well.”
Southwest Soccer Conference
Sunday at Portales
Midwestern State 1, ENMU 0
Midwestern State 0 1 — 1
ENMU 0 0 — 0
MSU — Jimmy Kruger (Elliott Gallagher), 49:10
Shots on goal — Midwestern State 8, Eastern New Mexico 3. Corner kicks — Midwestern State 7, Eastern New Mexico 4. Saves — Midwestern State 3 (David Stockton 3), Eastern New Mexico 7 (Leif Craddock 6, team 1). Yellow cards — Midwestern State 1 (Richie Box). Records — Midwestern State 5-1-0 (4-1-0), Eastern New Mexico 3-4-1 (1-3-0). A — 91.