ROSE RIDGE — Both the boys and girls soccer teams from Union came to Clintwood ready to play Tuesday night as the Lady Bears took a resounding 7-2 victory and the Bears won 2-1.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Bears dominated from the opening whistle, as freshman Kyndra Horner scored a goal with just a minute of play elapsed. She would go on to earn a hat trick.
“When I scored my first two goals, I really didn’t believe it,” Horner said. “I was thinking ‘Wow, this is my first game’. I’m really glad that the rest of the team was there for me.”
“These girls have been working really hard in practice,” Union head coach Donald Leech said. “They are really trying to learn more than the basics. I’m very proud of their work ethic and their attitudes.”
Union would also see goals from Kaeli McKinney with two, Hannah Spears with one and Emily Hurd scored one.
Ridgeview got a bit of a spark at the end as goalie Mary Bise had a textbook save on a penalty kick from senior Gabby Stidham.
Junior Olivia Lambert rode that wave of momentum taking in two late goals for Ridgeview.
“We were so nervous tonight,” Lambert said. “Those are the first two goals I have made since I was probably 10 years old. The Lord was at my feet and I just can’t believe it is real. I want to thank my teammates for being there for me.
Ridgeview head coach Cheryl Bise was happy to get the first game jitters out of the way.
“I think on the first night, some of us had a look of ‘deer in the headlights’. But, I see promise in these girls. We’ve got work to do, but I have great confidence on them,” coach Bise said.
The boys’ game was a defensive battle until the very end. Union prevailed in the end with a 2-1 victory.
"The team played out of shape all night, failing to string together passes with purpose,” Ridgeview head coach Eric Vitatoe said. “We have to make some adjustments moving forward but we will be fine. The team was also hurt by the absence of one of its starters because of the flu, which forced us to rely on a very new player. We will get them the next time.”
Union senior Sean Simon broke away with the first goal of the game at the 32-minute mark in the first half, sneaking it past Ridgeview’s goalie Alex Fleming on the right post.
Just into the start of the second half, Ridgeview junior Alijah Sproles broke into the open field to tie the game up.
With time winding down, it looked as if the game would end up tied. But, the Bears had other plans as defender Nick Guerrant cleared a ball past midfield to Simon who did the rest on his own, scoring the final goal with under two minutes left.
“We were a little nervous, but we came out strong. When they got that goal, it was nerve-wracking. But, I just waited for an opportunity and took it,” Simon said.
“We were a little shaky,” Union head coach Bryan Wharton said. “We played well the second half. We had a lot of chances. We gave up the goal and tied. But, once again, we dug down and pulled it out at the end. That’s who we are.”