EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Riding a two-game winning streak early in the season, the Unionville girls soccer team was faced with defending co-National Division champions West Chester Henderson to open up Ches-Mont League play.
However, despite a wet and rainy Wednesday at Unionville, the Indians overcame sloppy play and an early deficit to continue their winning streak and beat Henderson 3-2 for the first time in seven years.
Unionville started the game attacking Henderson’s side of the field and controlled the pace of the game. However, it didn’t take long for Henderson to change that. Midway through the first half. Kylee McElhiney scored the first goal and put the Warriors in the driver’s seat.
For a brief moment, Henderson seemed to be swaying the momentum into its favor, but it would prove to be short lived as Unionville made adjustments.
“They’re (Unionville’s captains) running the game out on the field. They have to change on the fly, which I think they did,” said Unionville coach Joe Ratasiewicz. “About half way through the first half, they made a few adjustments themselves and I think that help us. We got tighter and more compact because Henderson was coming down the middle for a while and once we did that, we started to control more.”
With less than 12 minutes left in the first half, Unionville took back the lead with back-to-back goals from Veronica Hineman and Claire Matson.
The momentum was switched back to Unionville, but the Warriors kept fighting and would not go down easy. Tough defense from both teams and heavy rain would leave the score at 2-1 heading into the half.
“We played in rain that was much worse than this,” said Hineman. “We had a big win and a couple practices to help us prepare for this. I don’t think it was much of a factor.”
As the rain picked up and the both teams got even more aggressive, Unionville’s lead had increased as well.
Practically as soon as the second half started, the Indians would pick up where they left off. Unionville’s Jackie Hug sent a floater right offer the top of Sara Lieffrig’s head and pushed the score to 3-1.
About midway through the second half, Henderson’s Kate Gordon would score to bring the Warriors within one goal. However, Unionville’s defense would keep Henderson from scoring again and allowed Unionville to hold on to the win.
“It was a hard-fought battle,” said Ratasiewicz. “It was scrappy and quick. The goal keeper for them played pretty well, but it was just a sloppy game. Slippery ball. Slippery surface. It was tough to handle the ball. We didn’t defend that well, but they kept coming at us. It was a good battle.”
W.C. Henderson 2
W.C. Henderson 1 1 – 2
Unionville 2 1 – 3
W.C. Henderson goals: McElhiney, Gordon.
Unionville goals: Hineman, Matson Hug.
Goalie saves: Lieffrig (WCH) 3; Borlie (U) 0.