It was as much of a fight with the elements as the opposing teams.
Union split its two matches Friday and Saturday at the Parkway College Showcase held at the Lou Fusz Complex in Maryland Heights.
The Lady ’Cats (5-1) fell Friday to Marquette, 3-1, but came back to beat Columbia, Ill., Saturday, 1-0.
Saturday’s weather conditions were raw with temperatures in the high 30s, rain and wind.
“It was pretty miserable Saturday,” Union Head Coach Matt Fennessey said. “We were there all day. We had gotten there early to see Maryville play Quincy in the morning because Kennedy Reeser, who graduated last year, plays for Maryville. So, we were there all day.”
Fennessey said things got better around game time.
“We were about as lucky as you can get,” Fennessey said. “The rain had lightened up to about a mist. The wind was still a factor. The weather wasn’t bad for Friday’s game. We had a bit of rain then.”
Additionally, just getting to the complex was a task. Between road construction and minor street flooding, organizers had to come up with fixes to make sure everyone was able to get to the match site.
“There was some water on the road,” Fennessey said. “One of the fields is close to the road and the runoff had a little water on the road.”
Union’s win came Saturday against Columbia, Ill., with the lone goal coming in the second half.
“We knew this was a big game,” said Fennessey. “Our teams were ranked first and second in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Small Schools rankings. The game was back and forth. Defensively, our girls did a great job and cleaned up the back line. Maddie Helling and Emma Cloud were solid. Erica Toelke had a good game and Ella Keltner was consistent.
Emily Gaebe scored with Gigi Gore assisting to give the Lady ’Cats their win.
“It was one of our better team goals,” Fennessey said. “We started to realize that wing play was how we were going to score,” Fennessey said. “The ball was played out to Gigi and she was able to get to the baseline and put the ball into the box. Emily finished.”
Hannah Olive made 10 saves in goal for the Lady ’Cats.
“Hannah had to make a couple of really nice saves,” said Fennessey.
For Columbia (9-1), Rylee Iorio stopped four shots.
Union was able to shut down both of Columbia’s top scorers, Haley Glover and Chloe Graff, who entered the game with eight goals apiece.
“They also have Kennedy Jones, who is a really good player,” Fennessey said.
Junior Hailey Cloud was named the Union player of the game. Fae Harrell was selected as Columbia’s player of the game.
Due to the weather, halves were shortened for Saturday’s games.
In Friday’s game, Union took the lead with a goal in the first half, but gave up three in the second half to fall to Marquette, 3-1.
“Marquette was one of the better teams we’ve played,” Fennessey said.
Union’s goal was scored by freshman Maliyah Minor following a corner kick. Sophomore Emma Cloud recorded the assist.
“We were able to score on another corner kick,” Fennessey said. “Emma Cloud played a nice corner in and Maliyah was there to finish.”
Marquette’s goals came from Maddie Barton, Jessica Bulanda and Ashley Hansen.
Assists were logged by Katie Baumgartner, Tessa Kreilkmeimer and Taryn Moore.
“In the second half, they were able to find weak spots in our defense,” said Fennessey.
Tabby Cacheris made eight saves in goal for Marquette while Olive stopped seven shots for Union.
Helling, a sophomore, was named Union’s player of the game.