Vikes Get Big League Win Againts Overhills
The Union Pines soccer team closed the penultimate week of regular-season play Thursday by earning its second critical league victory in as many days, with a 2-0 defeat of the Overhills Jaguars.
It was the second straight shutout for Union Pines (7-12) as the squad improved to 7-4 in the 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference and clinched a third-place finish in the standings with the win. The victory also ensures Union Pines a trip to the state playoffs.
“We had to win both these games this week, we should have won them and we did,” said Vike head coach Mike Mibb, whose Union Pines team has earned league series sweeps over Western Harnett, Overhills and Douglas Byrd on the season.
Union Pines bested Western Harnett Wednesday at home by a final of 3-0.
In Thursday’s tilt the Vikings seized control of the action early by controlling possession and applying adequate pressure up top on the visiting Jaguars’ goal.
Through 28 minutes of first-half action at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium in Cameron, Union Pines out shot Overhills (5-12, 4-6 CFVC) to the tune of 11 to one but had nothing to show for it. That all changed with 10:22 remaining in the stanza when junior outside fullback Jose Torres sent a spot-on service from the left side of the field to the feet of Raphael Pastrana, who took one touch and slammed the ball in the back of the net to put the Vikes on top 1-0.
“Tonight coach (Mibb) had a good game plan and we followed it,” said Torres, who was credited with an assist on the go-ahead goal. “We had a lot more possession and were moving better with much more passing.
“We get in trouble when we start kicking the ball up and down the field. Lately, we have started playing more possession-based soccer and it has been showing in the results. We have also started really playing as a team, which adds to the success and makes it more fun.”
The Vikes maintained a decided edge in time of possession throughout the second half and were able to string together two or three controlled passes in succession on several runs.
Junior midfielder Riley O’Neil gave Union Pines a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the second half when he received a pass from midfield and dribbled a good 25 yards into the teeth of the Jaguar defense before scoring unassisted at the 41:36 mark of the match.
“Riley had a great night,” said Mibb. “He started a little slow but finished very strong in this one, and it’s the second hard game we have had in a row — as Western Harnett played us tough till the end on Wednesday.
“Since I have put Jose and Juan Hernandez out on the wings, the overall performance from our back (line) has gotten better and that showed again tonight. Meanwhile, Rob MacPherson has also improved as a stopper. He is giving us better balls and Ben Peterson has been consistent all season as our sweeper. So the back four now is pretty good and we needed that to happen because we were making some poor turnovers that led to easy goals early this season — so that is not happening any more.”
Union Pines closes the regular season Wednesday in Fayetteville with a league tilt against Westover at 7 p.m.
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