It’s quickly becoming a two-school race in the Four Rivers Conference soccer standings.
Both Pacific (9-3, 3-0) and defending league champion Union (10-6, 2-0) recorded wins this week against St. Clair (4-11, 0-2) and Sullivan (0-14, 0-3).
The first showdown between Pacific and Union takes place Tuesday in Pacific starting at 5 p.m.
Nick Schumaker’s goal in the second half proved to be the difference as the Union Wildcats opened Four Rivers Conference play Tuesday with a win in St. Clair, 1-0.
“There’s only one positive that came from the game,” Union Head Coach Matt Fennessey said. “That’s the fact that we won. St. Clair seemed to be ready to play and we weren’t. It took us 67 minutes to score a goal. It was just one of those games for us. We couldn’t seem to get anything going. It was frustrating when we played so well the previous week and took a step back this week.”
St. Clair Head Coach Randy Roy praised his team.
“We played well and had some opportunities but didn’t finish. The same thing is happening repeatedly and we’re still trying to fix that up,” Roy said. “Our boys played well and fought hard the entire game. It was a fun game to watch.”
Alex Ciot assisted on the goal.
Union’s Trey Fink made 17 saves in goal for the Wildcats while recording the shutout.
Tristan VanSickel played in goal for the Bulldogs.
St. Clair showed an ability to not only defend effectively, but the Bulldogs also threatened the Union net several times in the game.
Pacific registered its second conference victory over Sullivan, winning Tuesday on the road, 9-0.
“Sullivan seemed like they were a little more amped up to play us this time. It was a much more physical game than the last time we played,” said Pacific Head Coach Todd Dempsey. “Our kids did a good job of being composed when things got a little chippy late in the game. We did a really nice job of setting the tempo from the start.”
The Indians led 5-0 at halftime.
Tristan Moore scored four goals for Pacific. Jeremy Hardcastle added one goal and four assists.
Alex Carlisle finished with one goal and one assist.
Tristin Cullinane, Riley Cullinane and Brendan Gentry each netted one goal.
Brandon Rowbottom finished with two assists. Donny Meyers and Justin Moyle both had one assist.
Jay King made five saves in goal for the shutout.
“We’ve been talking a lot lately about how we don’t want to be a one dimensional team on offense. A lot of our scoring chances are generated from the midfield with Jeremy and Tristan,” Dempsey said. “The way we’ve been spreading out our scoring lately, that’s going to give those other guys more confidence to finish when the chances fall to them.”
With its third shutout of the week, Pacific won Thursday at home over St. Clair, 5-0.
The Indians scored all five of their goals in the first half.
"We played one of our better overall games this year. We moved the ball really well to create our scoring chances. It was good to jump out and get a couple of relatively quick goals. That set the pace for us and the boys did a good job of keeping the pressure turned up when we needed it," Dempsey said. "St. Clair played hard and kept coming at us the entire game, but our defense was pretty solid."
Gentry finished the match with two goals.
Hardcastle added one goal and two assists.
Cody Simms collected one goal and one assist. Moore had one goal.
Alex Carlisle and Brandon Rowbottom both had one assist.
King collected two saves in goal.
“Jay has been quietly putting together a nice stretch in goal over the last several games,” Demspey said. “For not having played the position before this season, he’s done a fantastic job.”
VanSickel was in goal for St. Clair.
“It was not a good game for us. We came out flat and Pacific is good enough to score goals on mistakes,” Roy said. “They scored three goals in about three to four minutes that really demoralized us. We did keep them to no goals the second half, which was good.”
Union scored twice in each half Thursday to win at home over Sullivan, 4-0.
Schumaker scored two of the Union goals while Andrei Ciot and Dillon Breeden scored the other two goals.
Andrei Ciot assisted on two goals while Emmet Parker and TJ Vitt also assisted on goals.
Fink made two saves in goal to record the shutout.