With its highest scoring output of the season Union soccer collected its first conference victory this season.
The Wildcats (3-11, 1-1) scored six times to earn the victory at St. Clair (3-12, 0-2), 6-1.
In a battle of the assistant coaches with both St. Clair Head Coach Ted Brinker and Union Head Coach Josh Wideman absent, Union struck first on a corner kick that Zac Ellefson pushed toward the goal post and teammate Lucas Dowill. The ball struck the near post and rebounded off St. Clair’s Calvin Henry into the net, giving Union the early lead in the first 90 seconds.
“We’ve got a kid that runs near post,” Union Assistant Coach Brady Weinhold said. “His job is basically what we call a ‘dummy,’ and his job is to let the ball go between his legs. That’s what happened and it deflected off one of their players and fell our way into the net. Our kids did their job and good things can happen.”
The Wildcats added a second goal from Ellefson halfway through the period and went on to control the pace of the game for the majority of the night.
“The kids have been working toward it all year,” Weinhold said. “Coach Wideman has pushed these kids to be able to control the ball instead of playing kickball and tonight we were able to control the ball and when you control the ball, good things happen and you have opportunities.”
St. Clair answered with its only goal of the night in the final three minutes, scored by Henry. It was Henry’s fourth goal of the season.
“He used his left foot, so that’s good” St. Clair Assistant Coach Charles Knipp said. “We’ve been trying to get him to do that all year, so. ...He said he’s one-for-one with his left foot now.”
The score held at 2-1 going into the intermission, but Isaiah Hoelscher extended the Union lead with a goal in the 45th minute and followed up with another three minutes later.
Luci Ciot made it 5-1 midway through the half.
Union goalkeeper Riley Nagle matched his lowest goal allowed total of the season to earn his third victory in the net.
The Wildcats continued to control the second half and Nagle left the net to play the field with Andrew Baker taking over the goalkeeping duties.
“Riley has worked hard all through the season, so it was nice for him to be able to have a relaxed game back there,” Weinhold said. “They put a couple of opportunities on us. They finished one. It was good for him to be able to relax a little bit and then we got him on the field, which he thoroughly enjoys.”
Ronin Straatman added a final goal with four minutes left to play.