Clinton’s soccer team honored their six seniors on Monday night, giving them a send off before kickoff of a match with Union. After the pregame festivities the two highly ranked teams treated the large crowd on hand to a very good soccer match. The Spartans came out swinging, narrowly missing on two early scoring opportunities before the Dark Horses settled down and methodically dispatched the visitors, taking the 4-1 conference win.
Clinton seemed to be a little sluggish out of the gates and Union attempted to capitalize, nearly sneaking in two shots in the first ten minutes of play. Clinton and goalkeeper Gray Sutter turned back the threats and eventually gained the momentum they needed to turn the match in their favor. The Horses Struck first when Peter Darden lobbed a sideline throw-in to a streaking Ivan Palencia. Palencia dribbled the ball into the box and slid a well placed shot between the Spartan keeper and the near post to put the Horses up 1-0 at the 22:38 minute mark.
Spell Carr notched the second Dark Horse goal off a free kick at the 37:34 mark. Carr’s shot was a perfectly placed dart in the left corner of the net from roughly 25 yards out that gave Clinton the 2-0 advantage. The Spartans could not answer before the half as the two teams went to the break with the Horses holding a two goal lead.
Clinton would add a third goal early in the second half when Andrew Warren found the ball on his right foot just in front of the spartan goal. His quick flick found pay dirt giving the Dark Horses a comfortable lead at 3-0 at the 44:27 mark.
The Spartans were far from ready to give in and got on the board with an incredible free kick in the fifty first minute. Union freshman, Ivan Ocampo, took a free kick from near the baseline, fired the ball across the face of the Clinton goal and curved it perfectly, just inside the far post for the Spartan’s first goal. The score represented the first goal the Dark Horses had surrendered in eleven games and seemed to sharpen the Clinton defensive intensity.
Union was unable to get any good looks at the Dark Horse goal for the remainder of the game, as each time it looked as if they had found some daylight another Clinton defender would step in and turn the ball around. Clinton added an insurance goal when Ivan Ponce got behind the Union goalkeeper and sent the ball to the back of the nets for a 4-1 lead to put the game out of reach.
After the game, Clinton head coach, Brad Spell said, “this is a big win for us on senior night. I was pleased with how the guys played, we got to start our seniors and they stepped up and played well. Union could have been up 2-0 very early, in fact the second one I thought was in, I already was thinking we were down 1-0 for the first time this season.” Spell continued to laud his charges, adding, “we moved the ball well tonight and really capitalized on our opportunities, scoring when we got the chance. This is a quality win over a very good Union team.”
Union head coach, David Ameen, was pleased with his team’s effort, saying “I am so proud of our team, they have worked harder than any team I have coached in my five years at Union. We came out hungry for a win tonight and it showed especially in the first half. We moved the ball well, our wings did a great job with the sideline crosses, giving us a couple of really good early opportunities but Clinton has an outstanding keeper and they made some great saves early.”
The senior night win moves Clinton to 19-0-1 overall and 10-0 in Four County Conference play. The Horses travel to West Bladen on Wednesday and return home to face Wallace Rose-Hill on Thursday in what should be an exciting match.