February 3, 2010
Currently riding a seven game winning streak, including going 6-0 in league play, the Union Pines Lady Vikings are standing on very solid ground as they continue to vie for the regular season Cape Fear Valley Conference Crown.
After defeating Western Harnett on Friday, a team which entered the tilt as the 20th ranked team in the state, Union Pines climbed 22 spots in the polls and is now ranked 23rd. With the loss Western, which is 16-4 overall, fell to 5-3 in the conference and slipped 4 places in the polls (now ranked 24th)
The Vikes recently went on the road and defeated league foe Overhills by nine points. The Overhills Lady Jaguars twice had to overcome 4th quarter deficits to defeat Union Pines in the schools' other head-to-head battles this season. The Lady Jags (16-3 overall) are the 14th ranked team in the state but, at 6-2 in league play, are currently half a game behind Union Pines.
Union Pines is 15-5 on the year and second place in the Cape Fear Valley with a record of 7-2 in league play. The Westover Wolverines, at 12-4 overall and the 15th ranked 3A team in the state, are the only other team besides Overhills to best the Vikes in league play this season and currently sit alone atop the CFV standings with a record of 6-1. The Vikes and Wolverines were scheduled to play on Tuesday, in Cameron, but the match-up was snowed-out and postponed until Feb 10th.
Looking at what both schools have remaining on the slate schedule-wise, an odds maker would be hard pressed not to favor Union Pines' overall chances. Of course that is contingent on the Vikings winning the head to head match up between the teams. Other than the game they will play against Westover, Union Pines still has to face Southern Lee and Douglas Byrd. Meanwhile, Westover has Union Pines along with Douglas Byrd, Western Harnett, Overhills and Gray's Creek.
So the Wolverines are facing the second, third and fourth place team (Western Harnett the defending Conf. Champions) in three of their last five games. Those three schools have a combined overall record of 47-12, with an average state ranking of 20.
However, both Byrd and Gray's Creek are at the bottom of the league standings. Another bright spot for Westover is it will be playing at home for both the Western Harnett and Overhills games.
When the Vikes travel to Sanford to take on the Lady Cavs Friday, they will no doubt enter the tilt as a heavy favorite. Southern Lee (8-9, 3-6) is a team Union Pines defeated earlier this season 70-53. However, this is a potential "trap game" for the Lady Vikes; Southern Lee is arguably the toughest place to play on the road in the conference, and the Cavs have a history of coming out fast against Union Pines in past years.
Then Union Pines hosts Westover, before finishing the regular season on Friday February 12th, when its plays host to Douglas Byrd (1-7 CFV) on Senior Night. The Vikes topped Byrd 60-44 in their first meeting with the Lady Eagles this year.
All in all, it seems like should Union Pines manage to take care of its own business that they in fact have the inside track to taking the league title.
So what do you think?
***(Coming Friday I will post a blog discussing The Lady Vikes' maturation process this season, including the growing-pains they endured to get where they are now...also while everyone knows about UPs top scoring threat, Alsihia Mosley, I will introduce you more intimately to the Lady Vikes' potent second and third scoring options...as well as a player I like to call Miss Intangible..so until then...be safe and take care)
--F.W. Manning II