While the soccer ball was slowed by the rain-drenched field, it seemed like there was no slowing down the United Township Panthers.|
UT (12-7-0) stormed to a 5-0 Western Big 6 Conference win over the Pioneers (7-9-1) Tuesday night on the soggy Alleman Athletic Complex soccer field. UT is 3-0 in league play heading into Friday's home battle with Quincy and Alleman finished 1-3-1.
With a trail of water following the ball, Abby VanDeventer splashed in three goals for UT, Kiana Brady facilitated the offense with four assists and keeper Laura Burrill tallied her fourth shutout of the season.
"It was a good momentum builder,'' Burrill said. "Against (Quincy) we hope to pick up more momentum for our game against Moline. Then keep that going into the postseason. So this was a huge start.''
The duo of Brady and VanDeventer continued to make the offense look fluid, hooking up for three scores.
"Whether I'm scoring goals or assisting, I love when our team puts the ball in the back of the net,'' said Brady. "It helps me to have confidence knowing that (VanDeventer) is able to finish. Knowing that helps me with my game.''
And the combo goes both ways. At Saturday's State Line Invite, VanDeventer set up Brady twice in the Panthers' fifth-place win.
Against Alleman, Brady got things started, hustling for a ball parallel to the goal and hitting a perfect cross to VanDeventer for a score in the 10th minute.
Five minutes later, VanDeventer's shot was blocked by Alleman goalie Samantha Glackin straight up in the air, but VanDeventer used her basketball abilities to block out the mob around her to head the ball in the back of the net.
Brady then found VanDeventer for the hat trick in the 25th minute, but the play left Brady soaking wet after sliding across the slick field.
The Panthers' Tajia Coleman found the net with a strong shot from outside in the 27th minute. Katie Johnson scored UT's only second half goal.
That disappointing second half weighed on United Township coach Phil Weaver's mind after the game as the Panthers' coach wanted to make sure that the season didn't start to slip away.
"It was sloppy, it was casual and almost to the point where we are going through the game thinking you don't have to show up to win,'' Weaver said. "It doesn't matter who the opposition is, you can't take your foot off the gas. We have to do a lot better. This isn't a performance that would worry Quincy or Moline -- the only person that is worried right now is me."
Alleman played an inspired second half, controlling the ball much of the 40-minutes. But the Pioneers were unable to get the ball past Burrill who finished with 11 saves.
Alleman's Glackin was equal to the task in the second half, stopping six of seven shots, finishing with 10 saves.
"We need to continue to believe,'' Alleman coach Randy Bollman said. "We played Freeport well for 20-30 minutes. We got a little bit more against Geneseo, and Quincy. With each game, we are getting a little bit better facing these big teams, and we just need to continue to play our game.''
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