Vikings Stay Perfect in Girls' Soccer
The Union Pines girls’ soccer team upped its perfect record to 6-0 Monday, with a 5-1 Cape Fear Valley Conference victory against Overhills at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium in Cameron.
The Lady Vikings held a 4-1 lead at intermission, as Kooba Richard, Bri Orloff and Catie Driver all found the back of the net for the home team.
With the victory Union Pines improved to 2-0 in 3-A CFVC play, while Overhills fell to 2-1-1 overall and 1-1 in league competition.
After the game, Driver, a sophomore center-mid, discussed the Vikes’ collective desire to strive for reaching their full potential.
“This year as a team, everyone is really, really good,” Driver said, “especially when they are focusing on their strengths. With Kooba (Richard) in the middle this year — along with our four freshmen — it is a lot different this year.
“Kooba and I have played together for years (on club teams) and it is good to have someone where I know how she plays, and we both know how each other plays in the middle.”
Richard, a sophomore center-mid who did not play for Union Pines last season, scored the first goal of the match and later notched a second to give the Vikings a 3-1 edge in the 29th minute.
However, it was junior fullback Orloff’s tally from long range that ended up being the game-winner. The 31-yard bomb gave Union Pines a 2-1 edge in the 21st minute.
Driver’s score was also from distance, on a perfectly placed 22-yard bullet that blazed into the upper-right shelf of the goal with 3:53 remaining in the first stanza.
Through the opening half, the Vikings had taken 11 shots and put six of those tries on goal.
Meanwhile, Union Pines held Overhills to just two shots in the frame, although Lady Jag senior midfielder Dannie Garrett did manage to get in a neutralizer in the 18th minute, temporarily tying it at 1-1. The goal came from point-blank range as Garrett was left unmarked due to a communication breakdown between Union Pines’ junior center backs Becca Greene and Elena D’Argenio.
“There was a bit of a cluster there in front of the goal,” Greene said, “and Elena and I got a little confused on who we were supposed to pick up, because there were so many (Overhills) girls in the box. But mistakes are going to happen from time to time.”
The score was only the second the Vikings have allowed all season, with the other tally coming on a corner kick during a 2-1 victory against Scotland.
In contrast Union Pines has scored 27 times this year. Nevertheless, the mental mistake made by the backline did not go unnoticed by Vike head coach Jeremy Blake as he rode his team hard for the final 18 minutes of the first half, challenging them to play with passion and organization.
“During halftime Blake let us know that as center backs Elena and I needed to talk more,” Greene said, “and step up to communicate to the rest of our girls who their marks are and when to push forward. I think we did that much better in the second half.”
Sophomore midfielder Hannah Kiser capped off the night’s scoring when she beat two Overhills defenders with some fancy footwork before unleashing a laser in the 46th minute to give Union Pines a five-goal lead over Overhills.
Union Pines outshot Overhills seven to one in the second frame and thoroughly dominated possession of the ball.
After the match Driver admitted that Blake was tough on the Vikings — especially during halftime — but in the same breath she also made it clear she appreciated the input.
“Coach Blake wants us to push ourselves,” she said. “He is also going to also push us too because he said he knows our potential and he wants to help us realize it. He is there to support us in any way he can, no matter what it is.
“That is exactly what I am looking for in a coach, someone who does not settle for where you are at, but who wants to take you to that next level. I feel if everybody on our team is serious about it and really wants it, then as a team we are going to do it.
“If we believe we can do it and we know he believes in us, along with having our fans — like the ‘12th Man Blue Crew,’ who were out in force tonight — and our parents and families all believe in us, then it is huge. Because all that support just makes it so much easier in helping us get to that next level.”
The Vikings return to league action tonight in Hope Mills, where they face CFVC rival Gray’s Creek (5-1-1) at 7 p.m.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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