Lady Vikes Claim Soccer Win Over Bears
The Union Pines girls’ soccer team scored four second-half goals Monday in Cameron on its way to a 6-2 league win over the Gray’s Creek Bears in its home opener.
With the win the homestanding Lady Vikings bounced back from their first loss of the season Saturday –— a 5-0 defeat by 3-A Havelock High (6-3) at the Brittany Showcase in Wilson — to improve to 4-1-0 overall and 2-0-0 in 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference competition.
Through one half of action Monday Union Pines had a decided edge in time of possession, shots on goal and total shots taken, but led by a slim 2-1 margin at intermission.
Lady Vike center-mid phenom Kooba Richard — who now has a total of 12 goals on the season — scored twice near the midway mark of the first half to stake her squad to a 2-0 advantage.
The junior got Union Pines on the board in the 19th minute of the match when she received a deft pass from freshman Ashley Speck and sent a scorcher into the back of the net from 20 yards out.
Richard struck again less than two minutes later. After maneuvering straight through the heart of the Bear defensive line, she managed to find some space in the penalty box and proceeded to fire a bullet that hit the back of the upper-left portion of the net.
Gray’s Creek (2-3-1, 1-1 CFVC) had three shots in the first half. The second of those chances came on a 31-yard free kick from the middle-right portion of the pitch that Bear fullback Leah Plunkett punched into the upper-back portion of the goal. The sensational shot made the score 2-1 with 14 minutes left in the opening half.
At halftime Union Pines head coach Jeremy Blake stressed communication, and making the proper choices depending on the circumstances, to his back line.
“Saturday against Have-lock was hard because we just didn’t play with the kind of intensity we have the potential to do,” said Viking senior veteran and middle/ center fullback Elena D’Argenio. “Tonight I think we started doing that again in the first half.
“So during the break coach Blake just made us want to do better and give maximum effort so we could be the blue collar team that he always wants us to be. As a group I think we all really stepped it up in the second half and pushed ourselves to our full potential — because we all want to win and we all want to be the best we can be.”
As action resumed in the second half the on-field results clearly showed a marked improvement in execution and intensity from Union Pines. The Vikings dominated play completely for the opening 20 minutes.
In the 51st minute Speck got out wide after getting to an excellent through ball by Richard and streaked down the left half of the box before sliding a slick cross to freshman Kealee Morris for a one-timer score. The goal gave the Vikings a 3-1 edge.
Less than 50 seconds later Speck again got to a ball out wide on the left side from Richard and took it deep down the line before chipping it in with her left foot from 21 yards out to score her first career goal as a Lady Vike and give Union Pines a 4-1 lead at the 29:07 mark of the half.
Freshmen Speck, Morris and Sam Ring all scored the first goals of their Union Pines careers on the night. Ring made the score 5-1 when she found the back of the net in the box on a rebound in the 59th minute.
Speck finished with a goal and two assists on the night.
Blake pulled starting keeper Christine Kidd at the midpoint of the stanza and Gray’s Creek got a goal from Kelsey Carpenter to cut the lead to 5-2 in the 75th minute.
For good measure Richard scored from distance with a 36-yard chip in the final minute to collect her fourth hat trick of the season and bring the league tilt to its 6-2 final tally.
Union Pines is back on the pitch at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium in Cameron this evening (Wednesday) for a CFVC clash with Southern Lee at 7:30 p.m.
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com.
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