Midway and Union went toe-to-toe on the soccer field Monday afternoon, with the Raiders proving that their senior night determination translated into a 3-1 win.
Although it was Union that hit pay dirt first, hitting the back of the net just about two minutes into the game, the Raiders had the will and the hustle from the start, and proved their mettle as they controlled the ball throughout much of the game and, in the second half, put the game away with 3 goals while holding their opponents scoreless.
“The team that gave the most effort won the game tonight,” said Union coach David Ameen about Midway’s win. “It’s plain and simple — Midway out-hustled us in every aspect of the game. They played with great intensity from the moment they stepped onto the field, and it was blatantly obvious that they wanted this with all their hearts.”
Union had its own “moments of glory,” as Ameen pegged them, but plagued with injuries, including a starting wing man who went out with a concussion in the second half, Union just couldn’t find its footing or make the necessary adjustments to match up with the on-fire Raiders.
“Injuries have really hurt us this season. In that respect, it’s just not been our year,” Ameen said. “But that shouldn’t take away from the game Midway played tonight, not at all. They wanted this, and they went after it.”
Union got on the scoreboard first, with a goal from Gabriel Valenti. It was the only time the Spartans would find the back of the net all evening.
“We had some good looks,” Ameen stressed, “and we had some shining moments, but when Midway went into the locker room down by 1, you just could see in their faces that this wasn’t over, and it wasn’t.”
Midway came back from the break with one thought in mind — find the net. And find it they, did, not once, nor twice, but three times.
“We had every shot on goal, but we just couldn’t find the back of the net in the first half. Then things turned around and we were on fire,” Midway coach Allan McLamb said.
“We got our first goal at about the 8:20 mark in the second half, then we got another and another. The guys just never quit. They stuck with our game plan and kept plugging away. If you do that, it works out for you. They did that tonight.”
Faustino Espino scored the Raiders’ first goal, followed by one from Trey Murawoski and the final one from Jimmy Blackmon. All three assists came from Matt McLamb.
“I’m proud of the guys, I really am. They played really good soccer tonight. The kids stayed focus and did what they are supposed to do.”
Midway is currently ranked No. 3 in the Tri-County Conference, McLamb said, with the tournament beginning on Halloween night.
But first, the Raiders must travel to Hobbton for the Wildcats’ senior night Wednesday. Game time is 5 p.m.
Union, now 8-6-2 overall and 7-6 in the conference, host Lakewood Wednesday afternoon for the Spartans’ senior night.
“It’ll be a good way to end our regular season,” Ameen said, “with a cross-county match. It should be a good game.”
Ameen said he wasn’t sure yet if Union would get into the soccer tournament, slated to begin on Halloween.
“We definitely aren’t out of it yet, but I’m not sure if we’ll get a spot… we’ll just play Wednesday and wait and see.”