EL DORADO — With a cold, blustery wind blowing Thursday evening, the Union Mine girls soccer team hosted cross-town rival El Dorado for Senior Night.
It was the final Sierra Valley Conference game of the season for both teams, the last game the seniors faced each other and a chance to be recognized for their years of dedication, hard work and leadership.
Union Mine wrapped up the season with a 3-0 victory for a fitting end to Senior Night.
“This has been a fantastic experience and just the best year by far,” said Diamondback goalie Ashlynn Parker, who had 11 saves in the shutout. “We are such a close family and the team had a great season.”
Fellow seniors Molly Armanino and Ciarra Slater collectively added, “We have had so much fun and created lifelong friendships. This year has been the best since we are playing so well and now we’re looking forward to college.”
All three seniors plan to study science in college.
El Dorado seniors Paris Coyne, Alexa Grier, Jenni McCaughey, Wendy Villena, Ashley Beatty, Maddie Matthews and Cindy Lopez commented on the Cougars’ up and down season. “Everyone worked together and stayed positive. There were many challenges but we had a great time and enjoyed seeing all the improvement we made.”
The seniors for both teams wanted to win their last league game — and for the Union Mine seniors, the last game of their high school careers. The action went back and forth in the first 40 minutes as neither side could seize momentum and take control of the match.
Both the Cougars and Diamondbacks struggled to put any passes together or create any scoring opportunities. At the break the teams were deadlocked at 0-0.
The game’s tempo quickly changed at the start of the second half as the D’backs stepped up the pressure looking to score. Taylor Bruno chipped a pass over the defense on a set play to Chloe Hood, who ran onto the ball and booted it in.
Once Union Mine scored the first goal, the D’backs took control. The Cougars battled behind Kelli Caulfield, Kelsey Rothwell and Jesslyn Jana but couldn’t penetrate Union Mine’s defense of Haley Caruthers, Kelsey Del Rio, Hannah Moylan and Armanino. The D’backs sent pass after pass upfield to the midfielders and strikers, who peppered the the goal with attempts.
A shot from Bruno bounced off the frame back to Alena Salsberg, who fired in a shot to give the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead with about 15 minutes left. In the waning moments, Sierra Wright placed a shot in the upper left corner just underneath the frame to score the final goal of the match.
Union Mine finished fourth in the Sierra Valley Conference with a 4-6-2 record; the Cougars took seventh with a 1-9-2 record.
The Union Mine junior varsity team won the early game 4-0.