GIRLS SOCCER: Union Grove 3, Burlington 0

Union Grove’s Natalie Oatsvall, who scored the final goal in the second half Tuesday night, fights off Burlington defender Felicity Zelechowski at Burlington High School. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

 

Broncos finally get over hump, knock off overmatched Demons

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

Sean Jung looked like he just won the lottery.

Nobody has wanted to beat five-time defending Southern Lakes Conference girls soccer champion Burlington more than the young Union Grove head coach, and after a series of stinkers and heartbreaking defeats, the time has finally come.

A relieved Jung sighed in a post-game interview, happy his talented squad pulled off a 3-0 victory in a Southern Lakes Conference match Tuesday night in Burlington.

After all, the Broncos hadn’t beaten the Demons since 2010, and tough losses included two close defeat a year ago.

Union Grove improved to 7-0-2 on the season, as a tie to Racine St. Cat’s in the county tournament last weekend fueled Tuesday’s performance, which saw the Broncos in control from the jump.

The Demons, who hadn’t lost a match in SLC play since 2012 before Tuesday, dropped to 5-3-1.

While Burlington coach Joel Molitor gave credit where it’s due, saying after the game that the Grove is Burlington’s toughest opponent all season, Jung credited a longtime determination to knock off a rival.

“To say that we were pumped and excited would be the greatest understatement in the history of understatements,” Jung joked. “The girls circled this on the calendar in October of last year when I released the schedule. This is a long time coming, let me tell you.”

“The only time I can remember beating Burlington, I was the assistant coach, and it was back in 2010 in a third-place game. That’s the last time. It’s been heartbreak after heartbreak.”

Broncos flood Demon duo

Jung said his team controlled the midfield, slowing down Burlington’s two most dangerous weapons, Morgan McCourt and Jessa Burling.

“They are a huge handful,” Jung said. “I tried to tuck in one center-mid, so we were always double-teaming McCourt. I figured we could take her away if we pressed hard enough.”

“She’s (Morgan) still a massive handful to manage. She had a couple really good strikes, 1-on-2, 1-on-3.”

Union Grove goalie Mia Guyton continued her virtuoso run as a human brick wall, totaling seven saves. She has allowed one goal all season.

Sophomore Kayla Maurer opened the scoring on a play where the ball deflected off a Burlington player and into the net in the 12th minute.

Then, Kendra Hoffman scored off an Alexa Panyk assist late in the first half.

Burlington sophomore Cora Anderson, who finished with 14 saves, kept the Demons in the game, stopping several Panyk breakaways in the first half.

Finally, off a corner kick in the 62nd minute, it was a tight cluster of bodies that helped junior Natalie Oatsvall sneak a dribbler into the middle of the goal for the third score.

The Grove has found success this season attacking wide, or working the ball down the right and left sides all the way near the net before centering back to the striker in the middle.

This resulted in a bad matchup for Burlington, which features inexperience on the back line of defense after the graduation of four starting defenders.

The lack of varsity matches showed on the back line, and by the second half McCourt and Burling seemed frustrated, as any advance near the box was quickly thwarted by a swarm of red jerseys.

 

 

Teams will meet again

“They played much better than we did,” said Burlington coach Joel Molitor. “They kept the ball for much longer periods and were tough to defend. We knew to expect they’d be attacking. We had a good game plan, we just couldn’t execute.”

“They’re good, they’re solid top to bottom. They have a lot of the same girls as last year. The subs are solid, too.”

Molitor reiterated Grove’s attack in the wide areas is rare, and something the Demons don’t see from most opponents.

“We’ll be ready for them next time,” he added. “I bet you 20 dollars we’ll see them again the Thursday of the conference tournament over at their place.”

“I don’t think they’re three goals better than us, tonight they were. They’re clicking, for sure.”

Despite the loss, Molitor said his team is improving every game.

For Jung, this benchmark victory could be just the spark his team needs to take its performance to yet another level.

“I would anticipate we see them again, in late May,” Jung said. “They’re a good team.”

 

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