Vike Booters on Winning Streak
BY F.W. MANNING II
Special to The Pilot
At 4-1 in Cape Fear Valley Conference play, the Union Pines soccer team brings a three-match winning streak into tonight's league game against the Overhills Jaguars.
The Vikings (4-4-2, 4-1) defeated the Douglas Byrd Eagles 4-2 Monday in a CFVC match at Wilhoit Stadium.
Douglas Byrd (0-7, 0-4) gave the Vikes a bit of a scare in the game. An early goal by the visiting Eagles gave them a 1-0 lead, which they preserved deep into the first half.
For the majority of the first half, it was Douglas Byrd that controlled the action. The winless Eagles played with more aggression from the onset by clogging up the box on defense and dominating control of the 50-50 balls.
The neutralizer came after a long send-up by Vike Allen Cha that set senior forward Rimvydas Sunelatis up with a breaker. With the goalie charging, Sunelatis chipped the ball over the keeper's head as it rolled into the net to tie the game at one in the 32nd minute.
Less than three minutes later, Union Pines grabbed the lead on a successful penalty kick by senior captain Allen Cha. The goal gave the Vikes a 2-1 lead, which they took with them into intermission.
Union Pines would score again on another penalty kick early in the second half. This time P.J. Schmittdiel did the honors as his shot beat Byrd's keeper to extend the Vikes edge to 3-1 in the 45th minute.
With 21:43 remaining in the contest, Cha scored his second goal of the game after a long pass from Will Harding. The score gave Union Pines a comfortable working margin of 4-1. Cha now has a team high nine goals on the season.
The Eagles scored in the 61st minute trimming the margin to 4-2, but it was close as they would get.
Union Pines senior captain Tayt Stafford had a strong showing as a center fullback. After the game he spoke about the Vikings lackluster effort in the early stages of the game.
"We did not come out clicking very well," Stafford said, "and as a team, it seemed like we did not have our heads into it. We really need to focus more out there because we have some big games coming up."
After their match with Overhills (2-7-1, 1-3), the Vikings are back at home next Monday against the Gray's Creek Bears. Currently standing at 3-1 in CFVC play, the Bears defeated Union Pines 6-2 at Gray's Creek earlier this season.
"Once we got down a goal, all of our heads went down," said Stafford. "That is an area we need to work on mentally. I also feel like we can really improve our passing and communication. If we can get better in those areas we should be okay in our upcoming matches."
Union Pines enters tonight's tilt against the Overhills Jaguars alone in second place in the CFVC behind Southern Lee, which is undefeated in league play at 4-0 and 11-2 overall.
Tonight's match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. The Vikes topped the Jaguars 3-2 in Spring Lake earlier this season in their first conference match of the season.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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