EL DORADO — Tuesday night’s soccer match was an opportunity for host Union Mine to secure some solid ground in the Sierra Valley Conference standings toward a possible playoff berth. With the first half of the league schedule nearly complete, the Lady Diamondbacks are in contention for a post season berth.
“Our team started the year with a good match and we have just continued to improve. One of the goals for the team is to make the playoffs and we are approaching the remainder of the season like a tournament — earning points for wins and draws — so if we can accomplish that the rest of the season we will do well,” Union Mine coach Teri Akers said.
Standing in the way on the opposite side of the field was cross-town rival El Dorado, a team that’s struggled to find the back of the net this season but with a defense that continues to keep the Cougars in each contest.
Key to Tuesday’s outcome were the elements as pouring rain and constant wind hampered both squads through the entire match that ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
“This was a good game that we played tonight and are continuing to improve. The weather made playing tonight a little difficult but it was a fun game,” El Dorado stopper Jo Cade said.
The D’backs went at the Cougars with constant pressure as Union Mine controlled the pitch through the entire match with precise passing from Nicole Leu, Taylor Bruno, Hannah Moylan, Sierra Wright and Kelsey Del Rio along with a host of many other D’backs who continually pummeled the El Dorado half of the field.
The visiting Cougars withstood the barrage of attacks with stellar defensive play from Cade, Kelsey Rothwell, Trinidi Esparza, Maggie Anderson and Lizzie Alexander while Taylor McDade was solid between the framework. As a result, the teams went to halftime deadlocked in a scoreless tie.
Over the course of the second 40 minutes, Union Mine constantly appeared on the verge of a breakthrough behind crushing shots from Bruno, Wright, Leu and Moylan. While the D’backs gave McDade difficult shots to handle, the El Dorado keeper was equal to the task with saves that helped earn her team the draw.
“We had our opportunities the entire game but our team was just not quite able to get that goal that we needed. Through the game our team attempted some different strategies and played well the entire night, but were just not able to get a break,” Moylan said.
Union Mine won the JV game 2-1.