Viking Girls Defeat Harnett Central
A penalty kick by senior Sara Savage was the difference for Union Pines in Monday's 2-1 girls' soccer victory at Gray's Creek.
The 14th-ranked in 3-A Vikings (6-0-1) and the 15th-ranked Bears (5-1-0) were tied at 1-1 with five and half minutes left in the Cape Fear Valley Conference match when the home team was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty box, leading to the decisive goal.
The Vikings (3-0 conference) will be involved in another battle for first place when they meet Harnett Central (2-0, 2-2) in a 7 p.m. home contest on Thursday.
Freshman Kacey Graner opened the scoring for the Vikings in the 11th minute of the match with a spectacular goal.
The scoring sequence began with Ellie Reynolds, another freshman, lofting a long cross from the right side of the field.
Graner ran on to the ball near the top of the Bear penalty circle and deftly chipped it over the on-rushing goalkeeper into the net.
The home team tied the match at 1-1 with a goal about five minutes later.
It remained that way through the second half until Savage buried her penalty kick in the right side of the net.
Viking goalkeeper Jessie Puszynski was severely tested in the closing minutes before the big win was secured.
"For the first 25 minutes of the second half we were about as good as we can be," Union Pines coach Chris Hadlock said of a period of time in which his team was unable to score a goal. "We possessed the ball, we switched fields. There were points where Gray's Creek had as many as five people in the box.
"The win was a good statement for us. Thursday's home game against Harnett Central is another big one."
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