Union Rolls Past Pacific

Union's Natalie Helling, left, knocks the ball away from Pacific's Hunter Kelemen during the Lady 'Cats 9-1 district victory.

Bill Battle

Getting goals from three different players, the Union soccer Lady ’Cats cruised to a 9-1 win over Pacific Monday in the Class 2 District 9 semifinals at Borgia.

“This is right where we want to be,” Union Head Coach Matt Fennessey said. “We’ve given ourselves the chance to win the district final. We know that Borgia will be a tough team and we’ll get ready for it.”

The win set up a showdown for Union (16-4) with second-seeded Borgia Wednesday night for the district title. Borgia advanced with a 2-0 win over Sullivan.

“My girls played with a lot of heart knowing Union was going to be tough,” Pacific Head Coach Sara Schultz said. “Our season record does not reflect the effort or skill of our team. We have learned a lot this season and will be working hard off-season for next year.”

Sophomore Bethany Coons scored four goals for Union while junior Kayla Thornton added three and sophomore Kaylyn Bigley added two goals.

Coons and her sister, senior Alyssa Coons, each had two assists. Union’s stats also had Bigley, Alicia Brueggemann, freshman Maline Davis and freshman Taylor Gaebe for one assist apiece.

Senior Briana Lakebrink was in net for Union.

Pacific’s goal came from junior Amber Zurliene. Sophomore Sydney Drysdale made nine saves in goal before moving into the field later in the second half. Senior Callie Phillips closed out the game in goal and made two saves.

Union took advantage of three quick goals to start the game before Pacific scored its goal. Bethany Coons scored twice and Bigley added a goal before Pacific hit with Zurliene’s marker.

“Our corner kicks were really dangerous to start the game,” Fennessey said. “They were dangerous in front of the net and giving us good chances. We were hustling, getting to the end line and using our wings. We did a nice job of finishing when we got the chances.”

Union continued the pressure and got another goal 14 minutes before the end of the half with Thornton scoring her first marker on a tap-in. The half ended with Union on top, 4-1.

Both coaches felt Union picked up its play in the second half.

“It was a good second half by the Wildcats,” Fennessey said. “The first half was a little sketchy. We weren’t doing the things that made us successful. We were doing a great job finishing in the final third, but we would have liked to have played better. The second half was really good.”

Schultz said her team played better in the first half.

“The girls controlled the ball well the first half and the score did not reflect our effort,” Schultz said. “We just could not recover in the second half of the game.”

Union started the scoring early, getting a Bigley goal less than four minutes into the half.

From there, Union scored about every four minutes to make it 7-1. Bethany Coons scored with an assist from Brueggemann and Thornton converted a penalty kick with 28:29 to play.

Thornton scored on a cross from Bethany Coons with 20:30 to play.

And the final goal came from Bethany Coons with 5:53 remaining. Bigley assisted.