A tough, physical game was played between Union and Lakewood Monday afternoon, but the Spartans prevailed in Leopard country and ran away with the 4-1 win.
The Leopards struck first just 10 minutes into the first period, but that’s the only time Lakewood’s strikers would be able to score. Lakewood’s Joe Williams kicked it to the edge of the goal from the left side and Sadi Zabala finished with a strong kick into the back of the net.
Union would score twice before intermission, both times by driving straight at the goal. Chayanne Lopez assisted Mauricio Amaya on the first score at the 19:08 mark and then Isaias Campos, assisted by Lopez, scored with just 2:43 left in the first half.
In the final period, Michael Pineda, with an assist from Freddy Sanchez, scored for the Spartans with almost 23 minutes left in the game. Gabriel Valente, with another assist by Lopez, scored the final goal eight minutes later.
A relieved David Ameen, Union’s head coach, was glad to see his team battle back despite the quick first score by the Leopards.
“I was scared at the beginning because this is the third game in a row where we’ve come from behind. So when they got that first goal fairly quick, it was kind of wakeup call. They stepped up and got it in gear,” he said.
“The passing was shaky at first, but by the end of the game everything looked really fluid and they had some of the best passing I’ve seen this season,” he added.
Union’s record moves to 5-4 in conference play.
Lakewood head coach Jay Faircloth was disappointed in the hustle, or lack of it, from his players.
“The first 10 minutes of the game, we played great. Then we got that second goal scored against us and we went away. If we hustle and play the defense the way we’ve got it set up, we can play with anybody. Union’s a good ball squad and some of my boys thought they were going to come out here and do to Union what they did to Pender last week,” a frustrated Faircloth explained. Lakewood shut Pender out 6-0 last Wednesday.
The Leopard record drops to 2-7 in conference play.
Both teams play again on Wednesday at home, with Lakewood hosting Wallace and Union hosting James Kenan.