Completing a season sweep, the Union soccer Lady ’Cats defeated Washington for the third time this year Wednesday at Union Middle School, 2-0.
The contest was the regular-season meeting for the teams, who also played each other at the Windsor Tournament and the CYC Tournament.
“Give Washington credit,” Union Head Coach Matt Fennessey said. “They did a much better job of putting pressure on us this time. They played with a lot of intensity.”
Washington Head Coach Chris Lanemann agreed.
“That was a tough loss for us,” Lanemann said. “I think for the most part we outplayed them. We definitely had a much larger portion of the possession time.”
Union scored its first goal midway through the first half. After Bethany Coons was fouled, Kaylyn Bigley stepped up and scored on a free kick.
“Kaylyn did a phenomenal job on the wing,” said Fennessey. “She had a tough defensive assignment on Liz Brinkmann and she did a real nice job with it. She took a free kick from outside the box on the left side. It was placed perfectly over the wall and into the net.”
Lanemann also lauded the goal.
“Their first goal was scored on a very good free kick from 18 yards out on a shot that went right into the left upper 90,” Lanemann said. “However, prior to that we had three mental breakdowns that led to the foul. We were not moving the ball and maintaining possession, and diving in instead of playing good defense.”
Fennessey was happy to have the lead at the intermission.
“We talked about it at the half and tried to put more pressure on them,” Fennessey said. “Washington had five or six good scoring chances, partly due to our slow starts in both halves.”
Lanemann said Washington should have scored off of two corner kicks, but the Lady Jays hit the crossbar both times. In the second half, the Lady Jays had another one go off the crossbar and three other strong corner kicks.
“We just did not convert our chances,” Lanemann said.
Union’s second goal came from Taylor Gaebe, who knocked a loose ball into the goal.
“Bigley crossed the ball in and there was a lot of jostling in the box,” Fennessey said. “Taylor knocked it in. She did a nice job playing on the left wing.”
“Their second goal should have never happened,” Lanemann said. “Mary McGilvray made a good save and then fell on the rebound. She had it kicked out of her possession and the play was allowed to carry on and a Union player put it into the open net. However, even if we did not like the non-call we still should have played to the whistle.”
Fennessey also felt Bri Clark did a good job in the midfield during the game.
“Bri was in the middle of everything,” said Fennessey. “She was busting up plays and starting the offense for us.”
Defensively, Lanemann felt the Lady Jays controlled Bethany and Alyssa Coons, who do much of the scoring for Union.
“I thought my girls did a tremendous job on the Coons sisters,” Lanemann said. “Neither one of them had any real dangerous opportunities.”
Briana Lakebrink made nine saves in goal for Union while earning the shutout. McGilvray made five saves in net for the Lady Jays.
Union (13-4, 5-0) clinched the Four Rivers Conference championship Thursday with a 10-0 home victory over St. James. The Lady ’Cats led 8-0 at the half.
Further information was not available as of press time. The Lady ’Cats earned the title as nobody else in the league has fewer than three losses.
Union has two remaining FRC matches. The Lady ’Cats visit Pacific Monday and host St. Clair Tuesday. Junior varsity action against Pacific begins at 5 p.m. Union’s schedule states varsity will be played first against St. Clair Tuesday starting at 5 p.m.
Washington (11-10-1, 4-4) won a GAC Central game Tuesday at Holt, 2-0.
“Defensively, we didn’t give up many good scoring chances,” Lanemann said. “Offensively, we created several really good chances. We just need to convert them at a higher rate.”
Stacie Smith and Liz Brinkmann both scored one goal. Salena Pottebaum and Bailey Carico both had one assist.
“Stacie made a smart play from about 20 yards out. When the pass was taken away, she shot the ball on goal. She did not make it a more difficult play than it had to be, which has been a problem for us lately,” Lanemann said. “Our second goal was scored by Liz on a nice pass from Bailey. Liz finished her chance with a nice shot to the lower corner.”
McGilvray had five saves for the shutout.
The Lady Jays lost to Ft. Zumwalt South Thursday at Lakeview Park, 3-2.