Vikes Collect Shutout Victory Over W. Harnett
Union Pines soccer collected its third consecutive shutout, cruising to a 4-0 Cape Fear Valley conference victory over Western Harnett (1-5-1, 1-7-1) Monday in Lillington.
Senior forwards Va Cha and Ben McMichael each scored two goals in the match.
"We have improved up front a lot in the last week," said Cha, "and have really been building our confidence, which has carried over to matches. As Ben (McMichael) becomes more of a scoring threat, it gives us an added dimension and takes some pressure off our other forwards."
For McMichael it was his second two-goal game in five days.
"I am definitely starting to feel much more comfortable up there (at forward)," said McMichael after the match. "We are really starting to click and organize our runs instead of play off of each other, which has helped us get better."
The Vikes got 11 first-half shots on goal and outshot Western Harnett 17-0 in the first half.
On the night Union Pines totaled 34 shots, while the Eagles finished with a single shot on goal, from some 40-yards out, that bounced twice before Vike goalie Aaron Moore collected it.
Union Pines opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the match. The goal was set up by a nice through ball from near midfield from David Cha, to Va Cha. Va Cha broke clear of the defense and ripped a shot that beat the Eagle keeper and bounded into the goal.
Twenty seconds later, the Vikes increased their lead to 2-0. After the restart, midfielder Connor Reilly stole a pass, made a long run down the right sideline and sent a super cross on goal. McMichael was right there to receive it, as he headed the ball down into the lower left portion of the goal.
Leading 2-0 as the second stanza began, Union Pines continued to attack the goal constantly with a combination of sound possessing, long sends and accurate through balls. In the third minute of play Union Pines took a 3-0 lead when McMichael scored his second goal of the night from the middle of the penalty box on a one-timer. The goal was initiated by a beautiful ball by Brain Hayes. From the Vike 40, Hayes sent a long ball over the top that hit V. Cha in stride. Cha then took the ball into the right side of the box and slid it to McMichael who nailed it into the net.
In the 56th minute Va Cha put a cap on the night's scoring. Managing to stay on-side, he received a low through ball from senior captain Jacob Wilson and beat the keeper on a breakaway for his second goal of the night.
From there, Union Pines head coach Jeremy Blake quickly began the process of clearing his bench and managed to get every player on his roster at least 14 minutes of playing time.
With the win, the Vikings are riding a modest three-game winning streak, in which they have outscored their opponents 7-0. The match was also the halfway point of the Cape Fear Valley conference season. After playing every team once, Union Pines is 6-1 in league play (10-2 overall) and in second place behind Triton (5-0-1).
The Vikes host the Overhills Jaguars (1-6, 2-12) today at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium at 7 p.m. The first time the two teams tangled this year, Union Pines torched the Jags 7-1.
F.W. Manning II can be reached by cell at (910) 639-5481 or at email@example.com.
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