By Mark Carpenter –
It is said that there is a first time for everything and never was that more true than last Monday afternoon at Fayetteville High School. On that afternoon, the West Union Lady Dragons set out to do something they had never done before on the soccer field, defeat the Lady Rockets. Defeat the Lady Rockets they did as a strong all-around effort for the West Union girls resulted in a 3-1 win in Southern Hills Athletic Conference action.
“These girls of mine are a different breed,” said West Union head coach Kevin Hunter. “They truly love the sport regardless of the score and regardless of how many show up, they love the game for the challenge and the struggle. They love to engage their opponent and it is amazing to watch these teenagers lose and still be ecstatic about the small things. I have always coached my players to celebrate every victory big or small and focus on the positive.”
There were no losses on Monday for the West Union, girls, only one of the biggest wins for their program in years. Coach Hunter had to make some last-minute position changes before the game, but they all worked out for the best, especially his choice to put Elexis Caudill in the goal. Caudill responded with a monster game, making 15 saves and allowing the lady Rockets just a single goal.
On offense, the Lady Dragons scored within the game’s first three minutes when some good ball movement left the ball on the foot of Caitlyn Cooper and she fired it home for the 1-0 advantage.
“The girls spend the next 77 minutes doing what they do best-playing as a team,” said Coach Hunter.
After Fayetteville tied the score, the game came down to the final six minutes, where the Lady Dragons took the lead when pressure forced the Fayetteville goalie away from her spot and Heidi Hunter took advantage with the goal that gave West Union the lead for good.
Just for good measure with less than five minutes to play, the Lady Dragons’ Anna Shupert made a run on goal and chipped the ball into the net over the diving keeper for the final score in a huge 3-1 win. As the clock ticked down, the young West Union girls sensed what they had accomplished, and when time ran out, began a much-deserved celebration as they rushed the bench area.
After the game, Coach Hunter had high praise for all his players, mentioning the solid work of not only his three goal scorers, but complimenting the efforts of Madison Welch, Raegan Faulkner, Casey Biggs, Emilee Davis, Shannon Runyan, Macy Mullenix, Mikala Wolke, and Caitlyn Cooper.
“This is what it feels like to win when you work for it,” added Coach Hunter.