Viking Booters Hit Stride Against Byrd
The Union Pines soccer team dusted Douglas Byrd 5-0 in a Cape Fear Valley Conference contest Monday at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium.
With the victory, the home- standing Vikings improved to 2-4-1 on the season and opened league play with a record of 1-0.
Adam Howard started the scoring for the Vikings when he sent a shot into the back of the net in the 12th minute. Senior Tanner Mahood was credited with the assist on the play.
P.J. Schmittdiel powered in a try from close range on a sharp send from senior captain Michael Lindsay with 8:25 left in the first stanza to provide Union Pines with a first-half working margin of 2-0 as the game went to intermission.
As play opened in the second half, the Vikes displayed more precision with their passing and began to control possession and dictate the pace of the tilt.
Howard scored again on a brilliant cross by senior captain Evan Lindsay in the 58th minute.
The goal was his second of the day, and extended Union Pines’ margin to 3-0. Less than three minutes later, the Vikes pushed their advantage to 4-0 on a goal by sophomore Brennan Bullock.
Bullock found space on the left side of the box and placed the shot past the keeper and into the net after receiving a crisp cross from Michael Lindsay, who later wrapped up the Vikes scoring on an unassisted goal with 8:39 left to play in the match.
According to Union Pines head coach Mike Mibb, the victory over Douglas Byrd was a good confidence booster for his young charges.
“This was a nice opener for us, because the guys were able to get their heads up, look around and start to spread the field some,” said Mibb.
“As a result we started connecting a string of passes together on possessions. Also, I got to play a lot of my guys in this one, including my sophomores. All our players saw plenty of action, which is always a positive.”
Union Pines dominated the second half of the match from a statistical standpoint, as the Vikings had 12 shots, while Byrd had four.
After the match, Union Pines’ senior midfield Tanner Mahood talked about the Vikings’ collective growth as a cohesive unit since the start of the season.
“Today was a good day for us to build on as we start conference,” said Mahood. “I think as a team we have come very, very far. We did not even know each other in the beginning of the season and right now we are figuring out patterns, moving the ball and are much more of a team than when the year began.
“We took advantage of being able to move the ball tonight, and we will be able to apply that same approach against tougher opponents as we move forward. We just have to keep doing what we are doing, but move at a little faster pace.”
The Vikes return to action tonight at 7 p.m. in a CFVC match against league rival Overhills (1-5-1, 1-0 in CFVC) at 7 p.m. in Cameron.
Mibb feels that the contest will be the first of three upcoming games that should tell his team how far they have progressed and how much room they have left to grow.
“At this point I feel like we are developing, but are a bit behind schedule from where we hoped to be,” said Mibb. “Having said that, this team is young and still has plenty of room for growth.
“They’ve showed signs of that in their play the last few times out, including tonight.”
Next week the Vikes hit the road to take on two-time defending CFVC runner-up Gray’s Creek (3-2-2, 1-0) before hosting the two-time reigning league champion Southern Lee Cavaliers (4-3, 1-0).
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com
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