After taking a year off for various reasons, the Union High School soccer program re-emerged Monday evening and the Spartans showed they were ready for the moment. After trailing for most of the second half, with help from a last minute goal to force overtime, Union rallied and defeated the visiting Princeton Bulldogs, 5-3.
The first half of play for Union and Princeton saw the Spartans jump out to an early lead courtesy of a goal from junior Kevin Smith. Smith split the crossbar through the middle and past the Bulldogs goal keeper to give Union the 1-0 lead.
Princeton didn’t wait very long, however, to match the Union score and eventually take the lead.
After Princeton tied the game a 1-1, Union’s goalkeeper was caught in between a rock and a hard place as the Bulldogs closed in and drove the ball into the net, just past the hand of the keeper for the 2-1 lead.
The 2-1 margin held the rest of the way would be the halftime tally.
After a 10-minute break in action gave both teams a chance to get catch a breather and gain some composure, Union found the equalizer just three minutes into the second half.
Dany Lizardo would be credited with the goal, his first of four goals for the Spartans. Firing right back, Princeton would again find the promised land as they took their second lead of the game, 3-2.
Neither team could find the goal until Union’s Lizardo went clutch with just 18 seconds left in the game, scoring the game tying goal for the Spartans.
With the game still tied with all zeros on the clock, the game transitioned to two five minute periods to break the 3-3 deadlock.
Union would rely on Lizardo once again as the heroic Spartan converted two scores in the overtime period to cap off the Union rally for the 5-3 win.
“It feels amazing to be on a team that never gives up. No matter what we face, whether its a closure of the program or a 3-2 deficit, we always fight,” Union’s Smith remarked after the game.
“We are ready; we are where I wanted us to be at this point,” said Spartans head coach David Ameen. “My team found a way to win, getting down but still found a way to dig in and fight.“
With the win, Union is now 1-0 overall as the Spartans did not participate in any out-of-conference games. The win also puts them at 1-0 in Carolina 1A Conference play. Union was slated to be at Hobbton on Thursday, but that game will be rescheduled with impending inclement weather.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at [email protected]