Union took the upper hand in the Four Rivers Conference soccer race with wins this week over Pacific and St. Clair.
The Wildcats (8-4, 4-0) defeated Pacific (10-6, 3-1), 2-1 Tuesday, and St. Clair (5-11, 0-4), 1-0, Thursday.
“Pacific is a well-coached team that gave us a great game,” Union Head Coach Matt Fennessey said.
“It was a typical Union/Pacific matchup,” Pacific Head Coach Todd Dempsey said. “It was tight throughout and a really competitive, hard fought game. Union had the better play in the first half for sure. They really controlled things from the start but I felt like we were able to come back and get into the game.”
The Wildcats still have a home game against Sullivan and a road game at Pacific remaining in league play.
“This potential sets up a huge game for us next week against Pacific,” Fennessey said.
“If things go as they have in years past, there will be a lot on the line next week when we meet up again,” said Dempsey.
In Tuesday’s game, the Wildcats took the lead just before the intermission on a goal by Andrei Ciot.
Nathan McKinney scored for the Wildcats in the second half.
“We were lucky to get some timely goals by Andrei in the first half and Nathan in the second half,” Fennessey said. “We had some great chances to score getting to the baseline with some nice balls played across. Pacific’s goal keeper made a couple point blank stops that were great saves.”
Todd D’Aquila scored for Pacific.
“Todd was able to receive a pass from Tyler McDonald and beat three or four defenders in succession and put a shot in the far corner of the goal,” Dempsey said. “It was one of the best goals I’ve seen in a while but it was just too little too late.”
Fennessey agreed that it was a great goal.
“Todd then beat four of our players and scored the best goal I have seen this year,” Fennessey said. “It was a perfectly placed ball in the upper 90. From that point we did just enough to hang on.”
Assisting for Union was Nathan McKinney while Tyler McDonald assisted for Pacific.
Dillen Myers made nine saves in goal for Union while Mike Stinson stopped six shots for the Indians.
“Union’s defenders closed on our forwards and midfielders so quickly though that we couldn’t connect on our passes without turning the ball over,” Dempsey said.
Union continued its unbeaten run with a 1-0 win Thursday at St. Clair.
The game was scoreless at halftime.
Nathan Saleniuc scored Union’s goal while Alex Ciot assisted. Myers made three saves in net to record the shutout.
“We played one of our better games of the season. Union always puts together a good team,” said St. Clair Head Coach Ted Koenigsfeld. “Our defenders and midfielders had an exceptional game. They communicated well and did an outstanding job executing.”
Reno Jones was in goal for St. Clair.
Pacific remained in contention for the league title Thursday with a 6-2 win at Sullivan.
D’Aquila had three goals and two assists for the Indians.
Tristan Moore added two goals. Alex Carlisle scored one goal.
Jeremy Hardcastle registered three assists. Brendan Gentry had one assist.
Mike Stinson played the first 60 minutes in goal. Logan Armstrong took over the final 20 minutes.
St. Clair lost Tuesday at Sullivan in a game that was decided by penalty kicks, 3-2.
Jacob Meisel scored both of the Bulldogs’ goals during regulation on penalty kicks.
During the shootout, Meisel, Spencer Crumbaugh and Tanner Wideman scored, but it wasn’t enough.
Jones played the entire game in goal, collecting 12 saves.
“It was a competitive game, but we could have played better,” Koenigsfeld said. “Defensively, we didn’t play as well as we have in past games.”